“My kids don’t talk to me.”
You’d think that since we’ve known our kids all their lives and even live with them every single day of their lives, communication would be natural. But those very factors may work against us. Our children may have had too much of us! All we get is a grunt now and then.
Familiarity breeds contempt. It may be that we take our children for granted and do not speak to them with the courtesyÂ we would show strangers.Â Add to that the proverbial generation gap, it is certainly not easy to have good communication with our children.
What then can we do to improve communication with our children? Since we are the adults here, we must be willing to take the first steps, not waiting for our children to come to us.
Here are just 3 simple suggestions of what we can do:
1. Clear the air.
When I notice my children are little aloof, I ask them honestly, “Have I done something that offended you or hurt you in some way?” “Yeah, mom. You ignored me when I asked you to help me with homework the other day.”
Oftentimes, I don’t even realize I’ve hurt them. I was probably just too busy blogging! Without offering any excuses, I apologize. “I’m so sorry. You are right. I wouldn’t like it if you did that to me. Will you forgive me?”
Clear the air once in a while so bitterness and resentment does not build up that would hinder communication.
2. Be there.
When my daughter calls me from college, I drop everything to talk to her! “Oh no, I’m not busy at all. You’re calling at a good time!” Of course, any time is a good time.
I have to accept the fact that my kids are only in the mood to talk to me at their convenience, not mine. But as the parent, I willingly accommodate in order to use those opportunities to build our relationship.
Be there after school, be there late at night, be there when they call.
Don’t be too busy, too preoccupied, or too tired to talk when your kids are ready to talk to you.
3. Affirm often.
The image of the nagging mom in cartoons is not funny anymore. It’s too close to the truth!
Would you want to talk to someone who nags you all the time? Would you want to approach someone who is critical and negative? Would you talk to someone who gives advice without listening?
Be honest. Is the communication not happening because we are not approachable? If you put yourself in our child’s shoes, it may become clear where the communication block is.
Give honest praise and affirmation often.
“I’m proud of you” instead ofÂ “You could’ve done better.”
“I love having you around” instead of “Go clean your room.”
“You look nice today” instead ofÂ “When are you going to get a haircut?”
What other ways can you improve relationship and communication with your kids?
Photo by ThunderChild tim