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.
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:
Establish genuine support
Validate one anothers feelings
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.