How to effectively communicate with your kids

evvectively communicate with your kids

Are you concerned about the level of communication you have with your children? It’s frustrating when you can’t really seem to connect with each other – especially about the things that matter! I have a teenage daughter – it seems the older she gets, the more difficult communication is. Hopefully these tips will help you learn how to effectively communicate with your kids.

I’ll be the first to admit I am not the best at communicating with my daughter. Over the years I have gotten better, but that is because I make a conscious effort to follow the tips below during our conversations. I am not talking general conversation – I am referring to real, authentic, meaninful discussions. I have to work hard on my end to do the best I can to communicate effectively to her, as well as listen to her.

Effective communication not only enables you to understand each other, but it also strengthens your relationship. It’s not always easy, but it is something to work on during every conversation.

There are steps you can take to strengthen your communication. (They actually work with communicating with your spouse as well!)

Following these 7 tips can help you more effectively communicate with your kids:

effectively communicate with your kids
tips to help you communicate with your kids
  1. Keep an open door policy. Your children will be more willing to talk if you make it clear that you’re willing to listen to them. An open door policy means that you’re not too busy or stressed to deal with their issues.

    1. Children need to know that they can come to you with any issue and feel confident that you’re willing to listen and talk when they need you.
  2. Listen first. If you listen to them without talking or interrupting, it shows your kids that you care what they think, and they’ll share more with you.

    1. Sometimes, your kids may simply need to vent or share their thoughts.
    2. At other times, they may want some feedback as well, but you’ll need to listen first to determine their need.

  3. Ask questions. Questions can show your children that you’re paying attention to them and that you care.
    1. Ask appropriate questions that are relevant to the conversation.
    2. Ask open questions, appropriate for your child’s developmental level, to spark more conversation. Try not to stump your kids or make them feel hurt. Avoid questions that make them feel defensive.
  4. Use easy conversations to strengthen your relationship. In some conversations, you don’t have to offer advice. Your children may simply want to talk and discuss their day.

    1. Your kids may also want to solve some issues on their own without your interference.
    2. It’s important to use communication to build your relationship with your child, and sharing-only conversations support this endeavor.

  5. Use positive language. The language you use during a conversation with your children can affect them. Kids can tell if you’re being sarcastic and mean. They can tell if you’re being negative or bored. They can also tell when you’re being kind and loving. Choose your words wisely – according to many experts (and the Harvard Business Review) it takes 5 positive comments to overcome one negative comment.

    1. Your language can affect the entire conversation and its direction. The way you react to your child’s words can show them that you care.
    2. It’s crucial to use positive language with your kids and show them that words matter.

  6. Avoid anger. Your child may share information that makes you angry. But anger can stop a conversation or lead to a fight in an instant. Anger can also make your children afraid to talk to you. How you respond will often determine whether or not your child will tell you something next time. If they think you will get mad at them, they will likely be hesitant to tell you. It goes back to the open-door policy above, especially as they get older. Our daughter knows she can tell us anything at any time, no matter how big or small of a deal it may seem. I often tell her no one will be mad, but we need her to be completely honest, and not hide any of the details she thinks may upset us. That has helped us through multiple conversations.

    1. If you want to strengthen your communication, it’s crucial to learn to control your anger.
    2. Your anger shows your children that you’re emotional. It makes sharing difficult information or issues much harder for them, and they may even avoid you.

  7. Give children space. Nagging your children to talk more usually doesn’t work. I know this all too well. Teenagers have a knack for wanting to be alone, and not talk. I get many, many one word answers “fine” and “good” are two favorites. I have to be intentional with the questions I ask, and even when I ask them. Avoid making your kids feel like they have to share every instant of their days with you.

    1. Your children may need space, and communication can actually benefit from it.
    2. They also need room to develop on their own, to grow and change. As they grow, their communication will change too. Try to go with the flow.

You can make communication an easier, more effective process with your children. Practice these tips and as your communication grows, so too will your relationship with your kids.

What tips can you share that help you effectively communicate with your kids? Send me a message or leave a comment and let me know.

About the Author

Ron is happily married to his best friend, and dad to the best daughter you could imagine. As a teacher and children's pastor, he has over 20 years experience of teaching, leading, writing, creating and consulting. He has written for churches, contributed to several collaborative publications, and written a #1 Best Selling Devotional, Got Fruit? on Amazon. His blog is consistantly listed in the Top 40 Children's Ministry Blogs and Websites. Don't hesitate to ask if you think he could help you and your ministry in any way.

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