How we communicate can determine the outcome in nearly every situation that we have with our kids. Mighty Mommy shares four reasons that communication is crucial to parenting and how you can begin to make significant changes that will benefit your entire family.
I’m going on record as stating that I want to be my children’s "best parent," not their best friend. That’s not to say I don’t want to have many warm, friendly moments with my brood, but my main focus is to establish a nurturing yet authoritative influence in my kid’s lives, not that of a companion who giggles about boy crushes and burdens my kids with the woes of my divorce.
One of the most important components of good communication with your kids is letting your child know that they can come to you to talk about anything. This is not always comfortable, as topics of a child dabbling with alcohol or wanting to have sex in their teen years is not something Mr. Stork delivers guidelines to when our child is entrusted to us on the day of their birth.
But here’s what you have going for you in such delicate conversations: you are your child’s biggest and best advocate, and you know them better than anyone else. If you lay an open foundation of communication in those ordinary moments, like when you’re carpooling him to baseball practice four times a week and he has “stuff” on his mind like not feeling very smart in World History or he feels embarrassed that he burped out loud on the field trip in front of the girl he has a crush on, then later when he is struggling about his friends sneaking alcohol into a party, you are now the voice of reason that he secretly wants to listen to.
Our kids may not always listen to our advice, but when we bond and build that sense of security that they can come to us in their time of need, we have a much better chance that they will choose right from wrong.
4. You are Teaching a Critical Life Skill
Regardless of how we communicate, the ability to reach others with our thoughts, concern, praise, criticism, and views on any number of subjects is critical to getting our point across.
A University of Minnesota article on communication eloquently states that “communication is key to your success—in relationships, in the workplace, as a citizen of your country, and across your lifetime. Your ability to communicate comes from experience, and experience can be an effective teacher.”
Communication involves a give and take—not just talking, but drawing out the thoughts and feelings of others.
With this in mind, continue to remind yourself that your kids need more from a conversation than just being lectured. Teaching good communication skills can mean simply listening and helping your child deal with his feelings. Kids learn by imitating. Most often, they will follow your lead in how they deal with anger, solve problems, and work through difficult feelings.
You are your child’s biggest role model, as children learn through imitation. They most likely will problem solve, listen, talk, and express their emotions in ways they have learned from the adults in their lives. Good communication is so important and definitely requires some effort on all fronts, but this is a lifelong skill that is imperative in his future.
Remember, however, if you are really faced with a difficult situation and all your communication efforts are not working, don’t be afraid to seek professional intervention.
How do you stay connected and communicate with your children? Share your thoughts in the comment section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or email me at email@example.com.