Sometimes, prying information from your child is like trying to open a can without a can opener. It just can’t be done. Before you pull your hair out, learn how to get your child to come to you and talk when they need a listening ear.
As kids grow older they seem to talk to their parents less and less. Why is this the case? Often, as parents, we stop talking or listening to them. It is easy to get caught up in what is going on in our own lives and then we forget about our children and their needs in this department. Or we start to see them as an interruption to or work when really work is interrupting our relationship with our kids.
This doesn’t mean we are neglecting their kids. We satisfy the needs for food, clothing and shelter, but what about communication? No man is an island unto himself, as the adage goes, and that includes children as well. They have a need to be heard just like we do.
Your child may need to talk about something right now but you aren’t noticing it. Begin again today, ask for God’s wisdom, and do what you can to get your child to open up to you.
Six Ways to Help Your Child to Open Up
1. Give Them Time to Talk
Time is of the essence to parents. If you ask your child something, you want an answer right away. But, when kids can’t open up right away, don’t pressure them. Let them get their thoughts together first and then ask them again.
2. Show Them Respect and Love
Kids are people too and they deserve our respect as much as any other person. Give them some privacy in their rooms; listen to them when they talk; don’t discredit what they have to say just because they are children. Encourage their dreams and ambitions. Some of the greatest creative ideas start in the minds of children.
Remind them often with words and actions that they are loved because they are yours, not because of what they do or do not do.
3. Talk About Yourself
This one may sound funny at first, but often kids think that parents can’t relate to what they are going through. Prove that you do understand by relating stories of your own childhood to them. Even if it is difficult, let your child know that you understand.
4. Listen to Them
Don’t form your next speech or think about your to-do list as you’re hearing them talk. Instead, give them your full and concentrated attention. Acknowledge what they are saying with a nod or an occasional affirming sound.
5. Treat Each Child as a Unique Person
The worst thing for kids is to feel that they are being compared unfavorably to their siblings or to other kids. God made each of your children unique and special. They have names, they are not “the kids”, “the girls”, “the boys” etc. Give each person their own due and attention. Make much of their God-given talents and little of their short-comings.
6. Value their Opinions
Listen to their thoughts and consider them. When decisions can be made as a family discuss them as a group and use their input. Teach them to share their opinions in a respectful way.
Children want to open up to their parents. What they may fear is that they will be rejected for who they are or what they feel. It’s important that they know they don’t have to be afraid to talk to you about even the toughest of subjects. Perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)
Need more parenting tips? Check out these links:
More on Parenting from Paradise Praises