Communicating With Kids By The Numbers

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As parents we love them. But as adults who are responsible for them, sometimes communicating with kids is harder then herding cats in a rainstorm. You know the end goal, and sometimes it is closely within sight, but getting them there requires forethought and sometimes a bit of trickery. But since we all want a good relationship with our kids, learning to communicate with them is an essential tool of parenting. Here is a bit of insight into three good approaches that are bound to improve anyone’s attempts at communicating with kids of all ages.

Lesson #1 – Learn to Pivot

No I don’t mean that crazy balance board that was all the rage a decade back for exercising at home. What this really means is finding a way to turn a negative response into a positive one, without changing the meaning of the answer to your child. A simple example is saying, “Yes you can have time on your favorite videogame once your homework is completed” instead of saying “No, you can’t play your game now, you have to finish your homework first.” This is a cooperative approach that will result in far fewer arguments.

Lesson #2 – Reframe a Challenge

All kids challenge our authority; it is just what kids do. But when you are tired of telling your kid for the hundredth time to buckle up when they get in the car, you might want to try something a bit more creative than nagging. How about telling five year old Joey to imagine he is in a rocket ship to Mars and he needs to buckle up? You can try the same tactic with your ten year old; only maybe change it to a racecar. You get the picture, just think about what your child loves and apply that to the problem. All kids have a great imagination; you just need to zoom in on it to help with the solution.

Lesson #3 – Show Empathy

While not every challenge or problem can be met with a solution, they can be met with understanding and empathy. Showing your kids that you understand their fears and hesitations also show them you respect what they are feeling. This can go a long way towards creating a dialogue between you and your kids. It doesn’t mean you always have to give way to their desires, but you can show a real need to understand those desires.

Communicating with Kids

In the end all of these tools are ways to reach across that age barrier and connect. When you agree to meet them halfway about the challenges in front of them, you build bridges. While the sulks and tantrums probably won’t be eliminated, these three methods may result in more evenings enjoying that glass of merlot while the kids do their homework instead of arguing with them about it. I always vote for that kind of evening, myself.

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