The Parent Translator: A tool to help improve communication
Communication with children can be tricky, especially as they start to reach adolescence. As they struggle to find their place in the world, they may be having difficulties at school or with friends. Not to mention, as their hormones begin to develop, they can experience intense changes in mood which can make connecting with them even harder. It’s important to make sure your verbal communication skills are sensitive to their experiences, so your parent-child communication can be as positive as possible. Keep reading for our checklist on how to talk to children.
Start the conversation
Choose your moment carefully and gently chat to them about the importance of communication and why you care so much about creating a safe space between the two of you. Once you’ve made a start, ask them to think about the way the two of you talk. Do you ever misinterpret what the other one means? Are there certain phrases or topics that make them feel uncomfortable, unheard or unseen? This will help you set out some boundaries that work for both of you.
Sometimes, being vulnerable feels like the hardest thing to do with someone close to us. When you’re thinking about how to communicate with your children, make a note to reassure them that you’ll love them no matter what. As your parent-child communication develops over time, you can both discuss what suits you and how you could approach things differently to keep growing together.
Talking to children isn’t always easy. Your child might not feel comfortable opening up at first, so it’s important to be patient and understanding of what they’re going through. When you focus on staying patient, you can override any reactive behavior, so that you can be present for your child when they need you. Plus, if there are any misunderstandings or misinterpretations throughout your conversations, patience will help you clarify what you mean so both of you can stay on the same page.
Whenever communication becomes difficult and it feels like an argument might be on the horizon, take a moment to yourself and come back to this checklist to make sure you’re making the most of your parent-children communication skills. Think of it as a helpful bit of back-up for any tense moments.
- Share the Parent Translator with your child. It will help them understand that you don’t mean to upset them when you talk about their friends, diet and social life – and may improve communications between you
- Use the animations and action checklist to shape the conversation when you talk to your child
- How did the videos make them feel? Can they see that what people say and what they mean are open to interpretation?
- Encourage your child to share the videos with their friends and have the same conversation with them
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