Understanding Your Child | Counseling | Therapy

Understanding Your Child

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Understanding Your Child

There are four different communication styles. Each style allows all individuals a way to interact, express needs, wants and their feelings. When done properly communication proves to be effective for each individual involved. When done poorly communication becomes ineffective and no progress is made other than the arising of negative thoughts and feelings. In any relationship communication is vital especially when raising children. Healthy communication is modelled and taught by parents to their child. Parents have to be willing to be open-minded to what their child may be experiencing and open to helping them. This means that parents have to be willing to actively listen in order to begin understanding their child.

How many of you have noticed the change in communication between you and your child? Often parents use phrases such as ‘terrible two’, ‘puberty’ or ‘outside influencers’ as a way to try and describe the changes in their child’s attitudes, thoughts and behaviors. As children grow, changes within themselves do arise. The way they think may alter, hormonal changes, family and social interactions all become to a degree different as children grow, at times this may include the communication between parent and child. Your relationship with your child establishes their mental, emotional, physical and social development. That means that you serve as their very foundation, to love, acceptance, understanding, communication, conflict-resolution, thought processing, coping and relationship building. Your child’s communication skills begin with you.

Self- Reflection

As a parent you may say to yourself or even your child, ‘why won’t you just listen, or ‘ I am the parent and you should simply abide’. But why? Isn’t it more to your relationship than a form of superiority, dictatorship? The truth is that although they are your child, it is more to them than simply being your child. They are individuals, unique beings with emotions and thoughts that they too are trying to process as they are faced to endure society just like you are. As an adult you have a sense of how things are overall in your life, and what you think about your child’s life and what they are experiencing. But do you really? Do you understand how your child processes their experiences with you, school, friends and society overall? It is best to level the ground and open up to talking with your child not to no matter the situation, always ask questions, share reflections and be willing to be vulnerable. Self-reflection is fundamental to individual self-growth. The way to accomplish this is by asking yourself:

  • Am I openly listening, and not being judgemental?

  • Am I understanding of my child and their individual experiences?

  • Am I allowing myself to be vulnerable with my child?

  • Am I willing to understand my child’s point of view?

For both parent and child talking with one another can be frustrating. That is why as a parent, when you are able to self-reflect, be honest with yourself about your willingness to actively listen to your child, and think about your communication style, point of view, and the genuine desire to understand your child. This desire to have an understanding of your child by improving communication proves to be effective for everyone involved. When communication is effective it allows for everyone the opportunity to:

  • Build trust

  • Establish genuine support

  • Validate one anothers feelings

  • Intimacy

  • Acceptance

  • Increased opportunities of needs and much more being met

This opportunity of relationship building through communication establishes an out of the box view in which you and your child will be able to think a little broader than what you both normally do. This will allow for deeper understanding, that will follow with more agreements and positive experiences. As a parent you have to accept that even with your child communication works two ways, which means that for your child you have to be vulnerable to a degree, flexible and open to views other than your own. There are many ups and downs with parenting, the biggest down is communication. Parenting is better and very effective and enjoyable when there is a positive understanding between parent and child.

Parenting and Communication

There is no book that will meet the unique needs of you and your child. There may be similarities in what you see that has occurred over the years, however the genetic makeup of your child, and the environmental factors children are exposed to makes for a different experience. Recognizing that your child will eventually come into their own as a parent your initial role is to teach, guide and nurture your child. As children progress the roles change and it begins to become a struggle for balance of control as your child becomes their own guide and you are becoming a passenger in their lives. As these roles begin to change it is important to allow some space, do not be afraid to let them make mistakes. You have served as a guide, trust that what you have been teaching them has been effective and remember that mistakes lead to teachable moments. Allow opportunities like these to be shareable moments when you too will be able to reflect on a mistake that you made that also taught you a lesson. Opening the space for communication still in a non-judgemental way, talk with your child to gain an understanding of what they are experiencing so you can still take part in their lives. When communication is done effectively from a child’s perspective they will want to talk with you and share.

Communication with your child begins with you, your style of parenting, communication, willingness to be open and honest, self- reflect while still remaining concise and clear in your conversations with them. Remember that you are the foundation of every part of your child, there is no limitation to that.

If you are interested in building better communication skills and relationships, schedule an appointment with one of our therapists today.


“6 Tips to Improve Communication Between Parents and Children.” Exploring Your Mind, 1 May 2018, https://www.exploringyourmind.com/6-tips-communication-between-parents-and-children/.

“Positive Communication Style between Parents and Children.” Psychologs Magazine, https://www.psychologs.com/article/positive-communication-style-between-parents-and-children.

Just for fun we asked the computer AI to answer the question Understanding Your Child and here is the response we got . . .

Understanding your child can be a challenging but rewarding task. Here are a few ways to help you understand your child better:

  1. Observe and listen: Pay attention to your child's behavior, interests, and emotions. Observe them in different situations, and listen to what they have to say. This can give you insight into their personality, strengths, and areas of concern.
  2. Communicate openly: Encourage open and honest communication with your child. Let them know that you are there for them, and that you are interested in what they have to say. This can help to build trust and strengthen your relationship.
  3. Show empathy: Try to put yourself in your child's shoes and understand their perspective. Show them empathy and validation for their feelings, and be patient and understanding.
  4. Be consistent: Children thrive on consistency and predictability. Establish clear boundaries, rules, and expectations, and make sure to follow through with consequences when necessary.
  5. Encourage their interests: Encourage your child to pursue their interests and passions. This can help to boost their self-esteem and give them a sense of purpose.
  6. Be a role model: Children learn by example. Show your child how to behave and interact with others by being a positive role model.
  7. Be aware of developmental milestones: Children develop at different rates, and it's important to be aware of the typical developmental milestones for their age. This can help you understand what to expect, and when to seek professional help if needed.

It's important to remember that every child is unique and that understanding your child takes time and patience. By being open, empathetic, and consistent, you can foster a strong and healthy relationship with your child and help them grow and thrive.

Play Therapy

Play therapy is a form of psychotherapy that is specifically designed for children. It is based on the idea that children communicate and process their feelings and experiences through play. Play therapy is typically used to help children cope with a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues such as:

  • Trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Anger
  • Behavioral problems
  • Social skills difficulties
  • Developmental disorders

During play therapy, a child is given the opportunity to express themselves through play. The therapist may use a variety of play materials such as dolls, action figures, art supplies, and other age-appropriate toys. The therapist will observe the child's play, and may also engage in play with the child to help them explore their feelings and experiences.

Play therapy is non-directive, which means that the therapist does not tell the child what to do or what to say, but rather allows the child to lead the play and express themselves in a natural way. The therapist may also use different techniques such as storytelling, puppet play and other creative ways to help children express themselves.

It's important to note that play therapy is not only for children, it's also used with adolescents and adults, it can be adapted to the age, cognitive and emotional level of the individual. Play therapy is considered a very effective form of therapy, as it allows children to express their feelings in a way that is comfortable and natural for them, and can be a powerful tool for helping children to understand and cope with their experiences.

Parenting Support

Parenting can be a challenging and rewarding experience, but it can also be overwhelming at times. Here are a few ways to get parenting support:

  1. Join a parenting group: Many communities have parenting groups that provide support, information, and resources to parents. Some groups are focused on specific topics such as breastfeeding, potty training, or dealing with challenging behaviors.
  2. Reach out to a therapist or counselor: A therapist or counselor can provide individual or family counseling to help parents cope with the stress and challenges of parenting.
  3. Check with your pediatrician: Many pediatricians have resources and information for parents, and can provide referrals to parenting programs or support groups.
  4. Read parenting books or articles: There are many books and articles that offer parenting advice and support, from dealing with difficult behaviors to promoting healthy development.
  5. Take advantage of online resources: There are many online resources such as parenting blogs, forums, and websites that provide information and support for parents.
  6. Reach out to family and friends: Family and friends can be an invaluable source of support, and can help you to navigate the challenges of parenting.
  7. Seek support from local organizations: Many local organizations such as charities, religious organizations, and community centers offer parenting support programs and services.

It's important to remember that parenting is a learning process, and it's normal to have questions.

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