Communication is not as simple, as we think. Most of us have a hard time with it. An assumption made is, once a child can speak, they are now able to communicate. That is not the case.
Communicating effectively takes practice and a conscious effort to tune in and actively engage and reciprocate. It involves listening as well as demonstrating the message.
I have three guidelines that are simple when it comes to effective communication with children: do not yell, communicate well, and demonstrate.
1. Do NOT Yell
Yelling is an ineffective way to get your point across. Children whose parents are verbally aggressive exhibit:
- Lower self-esteem
- Higher aggressiveness
- Increased rates of depression
3 Ws of Yelling
Why? – Questioning or undermining our authority… Being ignored… Feeling helpless.
When? – Loss of Control… No idea what else to do.
What Happens? – Fear is the immediate response; however, it does not maintain attention.
2. Communicate Well
Effective communication with children involves both verbal and nonverbal behavior.
Words – Less is more impactful.
Tone of Voice – A calm voice captures your audience.
Body Language – Over 85% of communication is nonverbal. The way we learn to communicate with children is based on how we were previously heard. Meaning communication greatly involves the art of listening.
If you want to have an open dialogue with your child, you must learn to listen. Listen to what they are actually saying.
3. Demonstrate It
Children learn more from what we do than what we say.
- Model attentive whole body listening
- Compromise “How can we meet in the middle”
- Be open to their ideas
- Be developmentally correct
- Connect with your child
Your child needs and wants may not align with your own, but it does not make it less important. If you want to change the relationship, learn to communicate by listening. The communication between you and your child improve greatly!
Watch other videos in this Psych in 60 series for more parenting tips and leave your questions in the comments below!