As children grow up, it is sometimes difficult to maintain good communication with them. However, as you can imagine, this is the key to a he althy relationship between them and you.
There are big principles that supposedly help us keep good communication with our child, for example: ask open-ended questions, questions whose possible answers are not just yes or no. It's good! We note, but what else? During certain periods of their lives, children seem to experience a great need for intimacy. This does not mean that they hide something from us, but that they select what they want to tell us. For communication to go well, we must be attentive to our child and the signals he sends us indicating that he is ready to “have a chat”. And be careful, he will not necessarily give obvious signs; these are often tiny hints of nothing at all.
So, it is better to get used to decoding our child early… that would be the key for the communication to go well!
Here's a list of “approved” tips from the world's leading experts on children… moms! We asked the question on the Mamaforlife.com Facebook page andquestioned the mothers around us.
Write little notes to each other. I read on the blog A long untroubled river that the author of the blog – and also Mama – had received a letter from her daughter one evening. She replied and their new ritual was born. Every evening, the daughter writes him a message and the mother then replies. Writing can be a great way to tackle more sensitive topics.
A variation…We write e-mails. We can create an email address for our child or use Facebook to talk to each other. We answer each other, we greet each other, we entertain each other live (or almost!), here's a way to keep a link between you
Be careful not to bombard children with questions. “I used to want to know everything my daughter did in school as soon as she set foot at home. I asked him a thousand and one questions. For me, it was just to get interested in what was going on in his life and how his day went. For her, she suffered my questions as a little too intrusive interrogation. In fact, I realized that it wasn't that she didn't want to tell me about her day, but that I was choosing the wrong time. She needed to "decant" from her day before undertaking to relive it in words! Since then, I let her do what she likes for fifteen minutes when she gets back from school and then we chat quietly! (Nadine)
Words to understand each other. “With my 7-year-old daughter, it's complicated. She tends to keep everything to herself until she "explodes". Everything blows up! I explained to her that I couldn't know how she felt if she never explained to me what was going on inside her. It took her a while, but now she knows she can tell me if it's not right. We take the time to talk to each other when there is a problem. » (Susan)
Passing the torch. Sometimes we have to agree not to be our child's first confidant even if we want to know everything about his life. We must understand that his friends take up more and more space or that for certain subjects, our child prefers to turn to another significant adult (grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt, etc.).
Down with judgment and minimization! Nobody likes to talk to someone if they ridicule them, minimize their experience or what is happening to them or he makes hurtful comments! If we want our child to feel confident and be happy to share something with them, we must avoid falling into easy judgments. We never minimize, either, the pain, the emotions or the feelings that the child experiences. Otherwise, it would be a great way to close their "oyster" forever.
Respect. “Stay open! My daughters may be silly sometimes, the important thing is not to humiliate them. It is in these moments that they close, I find! For now, I'm lucky, my two daughters verbalize a lot…» (Julie)
Take an interest, always! When we are interested in what our child does, likes and prefers (and the opposite, of course!), we have more chances of easily finding a topic of conversation with our child.
A little ritual will become a big one… “Since my daughter was three years old, I got into the habit of asking her for something she liked in her day, another that she hated and if she had something to tell me. Thus, I dare to hope to be able to maintain this mania for a long time. She will therefore have learned to speak and will know that I am there to hear her and possibly help her if she needs it. (Stephanie)
A variant…A jar of questions. Write questions with your child on pieces of paper and place them in a jar or jar. Each evening, get into the habit of each picking a question and all participants in this ritual must answer the questions.
Talk! Communication involves an exchange. Your child should also be able to feel that you trust him enough to entrust him with bits of your life. Tell him about your day or your memories! And focus on the emotions you felt. He will be encouraged to do the same.
Focus on him… not on you! Try to stay focused on what he is going through and what he is telling you. Don't make every situation your own by making it your own or necessarily telling somethingsimilar happened to you.
Disagree with respect. We can disagree with what our child says. Expressing yourself does not mean always agreeing. We learn the rules of discussion and argument, but always under the sign of respect. When you want to voice your opinion, remember to say "I know you disagree with me, but here's what I think…". A great way to keep your child from turning against you and becoming more withdrawn.
5 principles to remember
- Ask your children what they want or expect from you in this conversation, such as advice, just listening, help dealing with their feelings, or help solving a problem.
- Children learn by imitation. More often than not, they'll follow your lead on how to deal with anger, solve problems, and get through difficult emotions.
- Talk to your children rather than lecture, criticize, threaten or be hurtful.
- Children learn from their own choices. As long as the consequences are not dangerous, don't assume that you have to interfere.
- Realize that your children can test you by telling you a small part of what is on their minds. Listen carefully to what they say, encourage them to talk, and they might share the rest of their story.
Any other stuff to share? Write to us without delay.