We all want an ideal relationship with our children. We want that special bonding with them which gets them to so share their biggest troubles and their smallest joys with us. But how do we achieve that with our super busy schedules and multi-tasking lives?
Effective communication, right from the beginning, is the secret. If you manage to establish a great rapport with your child early on, be assured that you’re laying a great foundation for the future.
Here are a few basic rules of communication to make it easy for both, parents and kids:
1. Keep Both Ears And Mind Open
The first rule, to get your children to talk to you, for them to actually want to share anything with you, is to Listen, Listen, and Listen. That does not include nodding your head with your eyes on your phone or book. Put it all away and focus only on your child when s/he speaks. Make eye contact and try and repeat what they’ve told you, to let them know for sure that they have all your attention.
2. Be Positive Towards Their Requests
For example, if your child is asking to go the zoo right now, don’t just say ‘No. not today.’ Instead, try ‘Do you want to look at the animals? It’s difficult to go today; we’ll definitely try to go this Sunday.’
When communication-especially turning down their requests is accompanied by explanations, the kids react and understand better, since they don’t feel rejected outright and realize that their wishes are important for you. Just as grown-ups would resent being ordered around or refused a request without a reason, so also with kids.
3. Understand And Respect Their Feelings
Kids have the same intense feelings as grown-ups, which they cannot express very well in words. As a result, feelings of being ignored and not heard are sure to result in tantrums. Just as we allow ourselves a bad mood or an indulgence once in a while, so let them do that as well. Let them get it out of their systems, taking care to keep it within bounds. Just be available if they need your comfort.
4. Ask Questions Intelligently
‘How was school today?’ usually meets with a ‘Fine, Mom’ or even ‘The same’, and the conversation ends there. Be imaginative and creative with your questions to snag their interest. Try asking ‘What did you play during sports hour today?’ or ‘What did your teacher say about your homework?’ Or ‘What was in your friend’s lunchbox today?’ It might really get your child to start talking.
5. Handle Bad Behavior Maturely
In spite of all of the above, prepare for inevitabilities like bouts of disobedience, stubbornness, and tantrums. Kids are kids, after all. We have all been through the growing-up phases and know what it feels like. Keep your mind calm and your voice low. Know that children often lose control over themselves due to hunger or tiredness, so address those first. Show the way through your own behavior.
Just like you would with any new relationship, use dollops of patience and a genuine interest in getting to know your kids and their lives. Most children know when the parent is distracted - too many such episodes may prompt them to stop communicating with you. Know that you are the adult in the relationship, and that requires you to be the bigger person at times.