January 31, 2013
How To Talk and Listen to Your Child
Kids Path Bereavement Counselor
Get your child to open up. Nothing is more important in your relationship with your child than effective, open communication. Talk to your child, listen to your child and have your child know that you are there for him or her, which is really the most important aspect of parenting. By communicating effectively with your child, you will alleviate much of the stress that comes with being a parent. A big part of being a strong communicator is being a good listener. When your child knows that you are listening, he or she will be more likely to listen to what you have to say.
Verbal and Nonverbal Ways to be a Good Listener:
- Respond to nonverbal communication. This will encourage your child to express his or her emotions verbally. For example, if your child rolls his or her eyes, you may say, “The way you are rolling your eyes suggests you don’t agree. Am I right?”
- Find a time and place to talk. When your child approaches you to talk but you can’t at that specific time, let your child know, “Now is not the right time, but it’s important that we talk.” Set a time and place to talk.
- Give your child your full attention. When you sit down to talk, make sure there are no interruptions and give your child your full attention. Don’t answer the phone, check your messages or watch TV.
- Avoid interrupting. Letting your child finish what he wants to say shows that you care.
- Give nonverbal encouragement. Lean forward and make eye contact, nod occasionally and smile to let your child know that you are interested in what he or she is saying.