Post graduate in counselling psychology
Effective Parent to Child Communication Tips - By Child Psychologist Shivani Misri Sadhoo
An effective parent to child conversation can shape the child’s listening, speaking and understanding capabilities whereas an inefficient communication can lead to numerous issues in later years likes like–not listening to their parents, emotional and psychological distancing from parents, teenage problems etc. The way parents speak to their kids and to the people around them show the kids how they should talk back to their parents.
Psychologist Shivani Misri Sadhoo in her practice has found parents generally use three different ways to communicate with their kids. The first one is in an aggressive way. These parents frequently yell and convey punishments. Their children respond in many different ways, mainly they feel fearful, yell back and ignore their parents’ constant orders. The second form of parent and child communication commonly seen is a passive form. These parents mutter soft, cautious words and tones to their kids. Unfortunately these parents are so passive that sometimes when they are pushed to their limits, they suddenly turn their communication into an aggressive tone.
The third way parents can communicate with their kids is in an assertive way, which is the most effective way to communicate with kids at all levels. An assertive way of communicating is firm, consistent, clear, positive, warm and confident. Communicating with kids in an assertive way is a real skill yet it shows your kids that mum and dad know what they’re going on about and to listen.
Psychologist Shivani shares today some of the tips of how parents can talk assertively with their kids so they listen to them and build a healthy listening and understanding capabilities.
1. Try to use positive language– avoid saying “no” or “don’t” to your child, as much as possible. There is no doubt that if we say “Don’t drop your glass of milk” or “Don’t drop the flower vase, I will slap you” your child has that image and thought imbedded in their mind and more times than not, they will drop the glass!
Instead of telling bad circumstances and their bad consequences, try to use words that you want them to do, like “Hold onto milk glass carefully, your glass is very special”. This requires some thought and practice but it will help your child to become thoughtful and more aware about his surroundings
Also never use words that ridicule the child like “you make me feel so ashamed in front of the relatives”, or “you were a bad boy today”. Such language achieves very little rather they develop a feeling of worthless in the child. Positive and kind words help the children to develop confidence, happy feeling and behave better, encourages them to try hard and achieve success.
2. Raise your volume carefully and appropriately – remember when you use volume of your voice appropriately for the majority of the time, raising your voice in an urgent situation will not be ignored. The child will sit up and take notice of his/her mother or father because it doesn’t happen all of the time. How to use volume of your voice appropriately? Here is the check list:-
a. In situations when your child turns emotionally charged, yell at you, never compete with them. Wait till your child calms down and then talk to him/her clearly and express your points firmly with confidence.
b. Never yell from another room, like telling your child to switch off TV from kitchen. This gives the impression that you’re busy and not too serious. Rather walk into the room, join your child for a minute or two and waiting for the commercial break and then ask them to switch off the TV. This will model respectful behaviour in your child and your child will more likely to listen to you as they will know that you really mean to switch off the TV (without your yelling).
3. Express reasons – generally, children activities that parents perceive dangerous or wrong may be perceived as amazing or innovative by the child. Telling your child not to do this or that may subconsciously raise question in their mind that my mother always say ‘NO’ to things that I enjoy doing. Hence it is advisable to express the importance of following an instruction to the child. Like instead of telling your child, “don’t jump on the sofa” you can tell them, “people fall from sofa if they jump on it and if you fall on the floor you will hurt yourself”. Communicating with kids in an assertive way is a real skill yet it shows your kids that mum and dad know what they’re going on about and to listen