As children grow up, in many cases communication can become more and more difficult between parent and child. Don’t give up though. Silence will only deepen the issues and resentment. Communicating the right way can help to dramatically turn around your relationship with your child. Of course there is no silver bullet to having the perfect relationship with your child and everyone communicates differently, but here are a few tips that may help you improve your communication skills when it comes to your child.
BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER: Your child is trying to tell you something with all their verbal and nonverbal communication, but may be struggling to tell you their “real” underlying concern. So listen to everything your child is telling your from the way they stand, what makes them angry, the type of movies and music they like to the actual words they are saying. When you do talk one on one, make them feel safe. Be quiet when they are talking. Be attentive and not simply act like you are just anxiously awaiting your turn to say something back.
DON’T JUDGE THEM AS A PERSON: When you put things in terms of them being “good” or “bad” your child may not want to share things with you that they think you judge to be “bad”. They don’t want you to think of them as a “bad” person or kid. Try to phrase behaviors (never them as a person) as “unhealthy” or “unproductive”, always reinforcing that they are valuable and loved unconditionally, but may need to work on their decision making and/or self esteem to promote more positive and healthy outcomes in life.
MAKE AN EFFORT TO CONNECT: You may have to step out of your comfort zone to connect with your child. Watch a TV show with them they like or watch a music video they enjoy with them. Cook them their favorite dinner for no reason at all and ask them to help you prepare it. Create spaces and moments that are relaxed in nature to just talk and enjoy each other’s company. As trust builds, the communication will usually begin to improve naturally.
PRAY TOGETHER: Prayer builds trust, bonds, spirituality and love. By praying together or even holding hands in prayer, you can help your parent child relationship transcend the physical world into the much more powerful world of spirit and soul. These types of connects are the foundation for all others.
If you have tried all these things and still have serious communication problems, you may want to try professional counseling, the counsel of a trusted religious leader in your community or support groups. Also continually pray for your child’s well being, peace of mind, health and happiness… it is a powerful source of help! Praying For Our Children also hosts an annual camp for single parents to help restore their relationships with their child. Click here to learn more about Camp P.R.A.Y.
Praying For Our Children