Engaging in effective communication with our children - engaging-in-effective-communication-with-our-children
Collège du Léman
05 October, 2020

Engaging in effective communication with our children

Engaging in effective communication with our children - ArticlePullQuote
When you let them know that is natural to experience positive and negative emotions, they can begin to really understand their thoughts about it.
Engaging in effective communication with our children Our Boarding Counsellor Jody Kallay gives you the ingredients to an effective communication with your children.

As new school routines begin, and some sense of normality resumes through the daily rhythm, it is easy to slip into communication habits with our children. The end of a busy day may bring with it a desire to stick to a light conversation, questions that keep things bright and breezy…and easy.

This is all well-intentioned, and light conversation has its place. But offering real moments of ‘tuning in’ that allow your child to share their inner world is highly important also. In reality, children rarely head home and approach you about a situation or topic that’s deeply concerning them (if yours do, then keep up the good work!).

It’s our role as parents to create the environment for such topics to be brought into the open and discussed. So how can you do this?

First of all, be aware of the non-verbal clues your child is giving you when they meet you following the end of the school day. Then be ready to respond through your own body language. Using eye contact and meeting your child at their level, plus not being pre-occupied with objects, such as phones, shows you are genuinely open to hearing how they are doing.

Use this as a guide as to how to respond. A child who needs to feel understood will value you repeating back their requests or checking if you heard them correctly. This can be immensely therapeutic; it shows you are listening and really trying to help.

When you actively listen, you will be able to connect with how your child sees their world and their reality. There can be a tendency to try and encourage the child to immediately see things differently and to ‘fix’ the problem, but this begins with empathy and helping them manoeuvre from where they are, not from the perspective of the parent. Validating how your child is feeling will really encourage them to open up and tell you more. It is important that we appreciate that our child may have feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy, and disappointment. That’s ok.

Share with them your own feelings, especially if you can share with them the same emotion.

Support and encouragement will allow your child to learn to solve their own life challenges. It will develop their self-esteem and let them know they have people around them to go to when they are vulnerable.

Time, listening and patience go a long way in supporting effective communication within the home. For parents, practising this formula for communication success is essential.