Communication problems between parents and children arise for a variety of reasons that stem from stressful situations, instability, major life changes and a lack of communication from the beginning. Single parents face extreme challenges, especially when a parent becomes single after being in a marital relationship for many years. Some children may shut down and pull away because they feel unstable and don’t approve of changes going on in their life. It’s easier for a child who has always been with one parent from an early age because he has already adapted to life with just Mom or Dad.
Other factors such as how a parent communicates can also result in communication problems between parents and children. Being too critical, labeling or blaming a child can make them feel attacked and alienated making them less likely to open up and talk when they need help. Repeated criticism can also leave emotional scars and a child can develop resentment towards their parent which can continue on through the teenage years.
Single parents can turn things around by making an effort to help their child feel special along with taking what they say seriously. Listening with empathic ears is vital when raising children. Sometimes parents want to do all the talking and they fail to really listen to what their child has to say. When parents take the time to consider their child’s ideas with enthusiasm, the child feels good about communicating and more trust begins to develop. This trust strengthens the lines of communication because it helps children feel comfortable opening up about anything as they grow older.
Developing good communication with your child is a process that takes effort and changes don’t happen overnight. You can start by taking the time to talk to your child every day after school and scheduling special one-on-one time as often as possible. Taking your child to dinner, a movie or just going out for ice cream can also open up the door for communication.