Communication between people is not always a smooth and easy to implement process. It can become a problem, especially with the little ones: with children. Do you find it difficult to communicate with them? Do you think they aren’t telling you everything you would like to know?
In this article you will find some guidelines that attempt to answer the following question: “How can I communicate better with my children?”. These are key ideas that can be taken as a little guide for your communication with them to gain quality, trust and transparency.
How to communicate better with my children
As you will see, we will try to answer the question “how to communicate better with my children”, through 7 psychoeducational guidelines. We must keep in mind that these they must be adapted to the mental age, chronological age and time of development of each child, As well as his personal characteristics:
1. Put yourself in your place (in two directions)
The first guideline seems simple, although it is not. It is about putting yourself in their place, from two points of view: the psychological (using empathy) and the physical (sitting next to them, getting up to them).
The second may seem like an unimportant aspect, although it is not; it is very important that the child or adolescent feels understood and listened to, And this is achieved not only with the verbal language, but also with the non-verbal (hence the management of our physical space with it).
Like adults, children react a lot to sensations, and these can connect if the physical distance between you is less; that’s why we recommend that you stand up to him and talk to him from there.
As for the other aspect addressed, empathy, it will be essential to improve your communication with them, because thanks to it, your child will feel better understood and heard. So put yourself in her shoes, try to connect with what she is feeling at all times and contact her.
2. Look for spaces of communication (and time)
Another important aspect to keep in mind in order to improve communication with your children is to seek out and encourage spaces of communication with them. this this includes not only finding pleasant and quiet physical spaces to do so, but also times (Time). After all, the best thing we can offer our children is our time.
A good idea is to look for a fixed day per week to do it, to create this space, for example before or after dinner, where the goal will be to share the experiences of the day, the emotional state, the possible worries, the satisfactions, needs, etc.
This space can also be shared by other family members. The important thing is to communicate and let the conversation flow, Respect, acceptance and love.
3. Use specific language
The next guideline on how to communicate better with your children is to use direct, specific, and concrete language.
Children (especially when they are younger) do not easily understand abstract language; this is why we can often feel that they “do not understand us”, or even that they “do not listen to us”. This has an easy fix; try to use more concrete language with them, with more direct ideas, without preambles or “adornments”.
This will be especially useful when you need to talk about limits, guidelines, behaviors you expect from him / her, good habits, obligations, etc.
In the most emotional area, on the other hand, we can always increase the level of abstraction in our language a little, because it is also important that they do not stop learning this type of language and vocabulary (from as much as they get older). .
4. Don’t take anything for granted; question
Often and wrongly, we take for granted many things that are not quite as we originally intended them to be. It happens to all of us and to some extent it is normal; however, this can make it difficult to communicate with our children, because, assuming things that aren’t, we often don’t ask, and end up generating misunderstandings.
So the next rule is: ask whenever you need to and don’t take anything for granted.
This will help you promote more real, effective, transparent and fluid communication with them. In addition, it will be easier for them to ask you questions when they have doubts about a topic in question.
5. Don’t judge him and avoid fights
The following tips should be specified; it is not about never scolding your children when there is something that they do not do well (although we have instead opted for psychoeducation techniques, where they reinforce what they do well and offer behavioral alternatives in case of inappropriate behavior).
It is therefore about avoid having a tendency to fight “systematically”, And to avoid judging the behavior of our children. There will be things that we love, that we think we can do better, and that will even test and challenge us … but, in these cases above all, we must try to remain calm.
6. Suggest alternatives
Compared to the above directive, what alternatives to the conduct of judgment can we use with them? For example, making them see that their behavior is not appropriate (when it happens), through dialogue and exchange, not through authority, punishment or struggle.
Children, like everyone else, need alternative behaviors to improve their current behavior; that is why it is not enough to scold or punish, and that efforts must be made to use strategies that encourage real and profound change in them. So don’t just tell them “don’t do this”, and use phrases like “do this other” [X cosa].
7. Remember when you were a kid
Remember your childhood, your adolescence … What did you expect from your parents? Did you feel like you could talk to them or did you often hear yourself talking “against a wall”?
What would you like to be different, to open up more with them? All of these issues can connect you to the current situation and help you empathize with your children. Are you sometimes too talkative or intrusive? Do you often appear distant?
Do this little brainstorming exercise so that through these questions and answers you can try to think about how to improve your communication with them: remember in addition to parenthood, you can try to be their “friend” and support for them.
- Comeche, MI and Vallejo, MA (2016). Handbook of Behavioral Therapy in Childhood. Dykinson. Madrid.
- Ramírez, MA (2005). Parents and Child Development: Parenting Practices. Educational studies (Valdivia).
- Servera, M. (2002). Intervention in behavioral disorders in children. A behavioral systems perspective. Pyramid. Madrid.