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Communicating With Your Kids Effectively

5 strategies to help parents and children communicate effectively at all ages.  

In a joint custody situation, communication with your co-parent is important. However, communication is equally beneficial when it comes to your children. Learning to communicate with your kids effectively takes time, but it is key to developing a healthy relationship with your child.

As a parent, it’s important to be mindful of how you talk to your kids

How you speak to your children has a great impact on them. Your communication style shows your child how you want them to respond to you. It’s important to think about how you look and sound when you communicate with your kids. Sometimes, you may not come off the way you think you do.

Three ways that parents communicate with their kids unconsciously include aggressively, passively, and assertively. Aggressive parents yell a lot and use attacking or negative words. Passive parents speak weakly and unassertively, afraid to upset their children.

Assertive parents are willing to listen and hold firm, so that both the child’s and parent’s needs are met. So far, assertive communication is the most effective way to communicate with children of all ages.
 

Here are 5 strategies you and your co-parent can use to foster effective communication with your kids

1. Try to see the situation through your child’s eyes. Before reacting, step into your child’s shoes for a moment, and try to understand the situation or problem from their point of view. Expecting kids to act as adults is often a major communication barrier between parents and children.

2. Use “door opener” statements. Door opener statements encourage your children to say and share more. They are meant to communicate to your child that you are really listening and interested. Some examples of door opener statements include:

  • Wow
  • I see
  • Really?
  • How about that!
  • That’s interesting
  • Amazing

3. Be gentle, but firm. Sticking to your decisions is the best way to keep communication clear and consistent. It’s beneficial for you and your co-parent to agree and make decisions regarding your child together. Your child may not like your decisions, but keeping your requests, responses, and reactions consistent can be a game changer when it comes to healthy communication with your kids.

4. Use “I” statements. “I” statements can help you clearly communicate how your child’s behavior is impacting you. Instead of telling your child, “You’re so messy,” try saying, “I need you to pick up your things.” “I” statements take your child outside of him or herself and makes them see the bigger picture.

5. Pick up on emotion. When your child is displaying emotion in their words or body language, tend to those feelings. Asking your kids to describe how they feel and why they feel that way is crucial to effective communication.

Effective communication is key to a healthy family

These techniques can help make your relationship with your child stronger. Additionally, effective communication between you and your co-parent also benefits your child. Children learn by example, so how you and your co-parent communicate impacts how they communicate with both of you as well.

TalkingParents offers several tools to help you communicate and coordinate effectively between households. Features such as Secure Messaging, Accountable Calling, the Shared Calendar, Accountable Payments, and the Info Library can all help foster effective communication between you and your co-parent.

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