Having meaningful conversations with your kids forms the cornerstone of a good family relationship. It’s important for your kids to understand that their opinions are valuable and that you are always ready to listen. Here are some tips for having meaningful conversations with your children.
Create the Right Space
We all tend to feel more comfortable in certain settings and situations and there is always a right time for everything. By choosing the wrong moment and for example forcing a conversation with your kids on your drive to school might make them feel trapped and restricted. Rather create a common area for conversation in your home where everyone feels confident and equal.
Learn to Listen
The biggest part of communication is being able to listen when it really matters. Even if you don’t agree with what is being said, it’s important to listen when your kids are speaking. This will make them feel ‘heard’ and give them the confidence to come to you with anything.
Be Involved Daily
People are more open to communicating when they feel there is a trusting relationship in place. Don’t expect them to share their deepest thoughts when you never attend their sporting events or make time for one-on-one activities.
Learn to Say Sorry
Showing your kids by example that it is healthy to admit to mistakes and faults can really help with their personal development. It also shows them that you are human, and even though you want to help and guide them; you’re not perfect. This way they might be more inclined to share less than perfect news, thoughts and ideas.
Balance it Out
Expecting your kids to openly share their feelings would only be fair if you can do the same. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should burden them with work problems or financial concerns, but being vulnerable every now and again will really help build the relationship. Explaining why you feel irritable or rushed will help them understand that you are not perfect, but that you are aware of what is hindering you and that you are trying to control or improve on it. This will inspire the kids to take more notice of their own feelings and consciously take control of the outcome or response.
Watch Your Words and Tone
Think of ‘how’ you are asking questions. Try ‘How do you feel about going to school?’ rather than ‘Why don’t you ever have fun at school?’. This way you aren’t suggesting a response but allowing them to generate their own opinion on the subject. It also encourages a positive focus rather than a negative response.
Get Clued Up
If your kids don’t surprise you with facts then it would be easier to stay calm during difficult conversations. Try to stay clued up on the development issues of their respective ages, as well as trends and topics that go along with it. Keep an open mind, these facts and research are meant to aid you in the communication and shouldn’t be used as a tool to force them to share their feelings.