The way we talk to our children has a significant impact on their learning and ability to listen and talk to us. Children usually respond to us in the same way we speak to them. The most effective way to talk to your child is through assertive communication. It is firm, yet consistent, clear, gentle and confident. When you communicate with your child this way, it shows them you know what you’re talking about and that they will have to listen. Assertive communication is by far more effective than both the aggressive and passive communication.
We will give you 10 tips to improve the way we talk to our children.
1. Use Postive Language. You don’t have to say “no” or start every sentence with “don’t” all the time. So instead of saying “don’t drop that glass”, you can say, “hold the glass carefully, it’s a special one.”
Use words of encouragement and praise too. Say, “That’s right.” “Wonderful!” “I like the way you do that.” “Good for you.” “You’re doing better.” “That’s perfect.” “Good idea.” Phrases like this will have your children feeling loved and appreciated.
2. Try not to nag all the time. If you have to nag to get your children to do their chores everyday, you’ll end up losing your cool. Children thrive on routines, so you can place a chore chart on the fridge so they can know what they expected to do. You can also time their performance; say things like, “All right, the dishes have to be done in 15 minutes,” while clapping your hands to set them in the mood. You might want to reward a child who completes his chores as expected for motivation.
3. Be gentle but firm. Stick to your decisions. When you make your requests sound significant by speaking like you mean it, your kids will have to comply.
4. Check to make sure your child understands. Always let them know why they need to do somthing and how it is to their advantage to do so. If your child seems confused or is not responding the right way to your requests or instructions, stop and ask them if they understand what they have been told to do or not. Ask them to repeat what you have said and if they find it difficult to do that, you might want to rephrase or make it clearer.
5. Use your child’s name. This is very effective when trying to get their attention before delivering your message. Say your child’s name, wait till you have her attention before saying what you want to.
6. Give them options or alternatives. Try to use ‘when’ more often than ‘if’. Say things like, “When you finish your homework, you can then watch TV.” This will make your child feel he has choices even though there’s no room for negotiation.
7. Make time for conversation always. This is a very integral part of parent-child relationship. When you take time and effort to have one-on-one discussions with them, they develop more confidence and self-esteem. Ask open-minded questions and give an attentive ear always.
8. Avoid yelling. You can discipline your child without having to shout at the top of your voice all the time. Yelling prompts your child to fear you rather than understand the consequences of his actions. Try to use the appropriate volume for most of the time, so your child can see you’re in control. Yelling is only really useful in urgent situations to get your child’s attention quickly.
9. Be a model. If you show good manners to your child and to a everyone else, they will see and know that having good manners is important. Teach them to say, “please” or “thank you” by using this phrases yourself when you talk to them and to other people around. Don’t interrupt you child when he is trying to tell his story. Try to be courteous always.
10. Be considerate. This doesn’t mean allowing your children behave in an unacceptable manner or to negotiate. Before you discipline or punish your child, ask yourself if you have set clear limits and expectations that they understand, try to understand why they acted ‘naughty’ in the first place. This will teach them by example to always think about what they are doing. Also, avoid embarrassing them or putting them on the spot in front of others, this will only lead to resentment and hostility towards you.
Good communication is an important parenting skill. When a positive parent – child relationship is established, you’ll enjoy parenting more.