Effective Communication with Your Child
Active listening improves communication with your child and lets them know you are interested and hear what they tell you.
Start Listening Now
Active listening improves communication with your child and lets them know you are interested and hear what they tell you. It’s easy to ignore or shrug off any issues your child brings up to you, especially when your day is busy and full of stress from your problems. However, prioritizing your child feeling heard during adolescence will carry over into their teenage and young adult years. Your young child’s problem with a toy may seem small now, but as they grow, so do their issues. Take time to listen now and create the standard that they can always come to you.
How to Practice Active Listening:
- Give your full attention
- Make eye contact and stop what you are doing
- Get down on your child’s level
- Repeat back what they are saying and reflect how they are feeling
Repeat their words
One way to reinforce you are listening to your child is by repeating what they communicate to you. By repeating back their words, your child not only know you heard them but that you understood what they tried to tell you. This practice is also beneficial for toddlers and young children learning to talk and structure their sentences. Instead of exactly repeating back what they tell you, correct any grammar or pronunciation errors.
Child: “I drawed you a pissure of a dog.”
Parent: “You drew me a picture of a dog!”
Reflect their emotions
Another way to reinforce you are paying attention to your child is by reflecting their emotions. In other words, observe your child’s behavior and reactions and describe the emotion they seem to be experiencing at that time. This communicates to your child that they have your full attention and helps young children identify and learn to describe how they feel.
Tips on How to Reflect Emotions:
- Guess even if you are unsure.
- Example: “It sounds/looks like something is upsetting you.” “It seems like you are bothered by something/someone.”
- Words are not always needed.
- Example: Simple sit with or hold your child to comfort them when they are upset.
- You don’t have to agree with their feelings or reactions.
- Example: You might disagree with how your child responds to situations or problems. Instead of telling them “no,” help them work through their feelings.
- Talk about other feelings.
- Example: Children often feel more than one emotion at once. Comfort them by talking through each of their feelings.
- Don’t worry about getting it wrong.
- Example: If you wrongly guess your child is angry, don’t feel discouraged. Your child will correct you and try again.
Developing Family Communication
Developing and strengthening family communication takes time and dedication. Sometimes it even takes an extra helping hand. With our therapy services, we have Experienced Clinicians who utilize a wide range of therapeutic interventions to help youth and their families struggling with emotional and/or behavioral problems.
Individual and family therapy options are available in office or at home, school, and other community-based locations. Learn more or make a referral by submitting the below contact form.
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