Parenting is a tough job in and by itself. There is a long list of decisions that a parent has to make, never really knowing if the choice that they made is going to be the right one. From ensuring that their kids get healthy food to eat, good friends to play with, a good education, the right career path, developing critical thinking skills, and so much more; parents need to think about everything.
Many might agree that there has always been a generational gap between parents & their kids. This gap seems to have widened with the children in the 21st century. Kids nowadays might not be very open about things that bother them or be verbose of the peer pressures that they have to deal with because they might feel that they would not be understood or would be judged. To close this gap and to gain better understanding of what children have to deal with, parents need to develop a stronger relationship and a safe haven where kids feel they can talk about anything and everything. To be able to accomplish this there has to be good communication between parents & their children.
Understand how your child communicates
Knowing how your child communicates will help you strengthen your bond with them and encourage them to be open with you. Some kids are open while others a little bit more reserved. Taking the time to learning their style will help you bring the best out in them. Be mindful that not all communication is verbal and pay close attention to body language. Sometimes a cheerful child that seems quiet could have had a tough day at school and might just need a nudge to share it with you.
Be a good listener
Listening is so much more than just hearing what is being said; it is to understand the meaning behind the words. We have all been guilty of listening half-heartedly while trying to finish cooking dinner or while responding to a work email or taking care of the endless things that have to be taken care of. Give full attention to your child when he or she is talking about something. Make eye contact and let them know that what they are saying is important, that they are important.
Turn off the TV and any other distractions or interruptions as you intently listen to them and respond thoughtfully when they ask for your opinion. Things that seem trivial or silly to you might actually be challenging for them to process. So make sure you empathize without judging and look at it from their perspective. When your child feels like they can talk to you about anything and everything you have created a strong foundation of a loving relationship.
Narrate positive stories and personal experiences
Children love to hear stories. Remember the times where we read bedtime stories to our kids when they were younger. It was a ritual that made them feel so special and loved. Depending on your kid’s age and maturity level, you choose the best stories for them. As the kids get older let those stories evolve to you sharing your personal life experiences with them. Talk about yourself if you want them to talk about themselves. You don’t need to be perfect to inspire them. You just need to be real. As they start to realize that you have experienced a lot of what they are going through now, it creates this bond where they feel comfortable sharing and asking for opinion on things that matter most to them.
Spend some time with them every day
We all live in a busy world and finding time can seem difficult. Sometimes with both parents working different shifts it might even get trickier. Find time on a daily basis to intentionally spend with your kids. Little kids might want you to play with them. Remember it’s not what you want to do, its what they want you to do with them that matter. Develop a routine that works for your family. As kids get older they love to help. Let them contribute by helping you with chores like preparing dinner together or going shopping. Schedule some family time and plan a picnic or a vacation and create memories. To children love is often spelt as TIME.
Use the Whale-done approach
Everyone wants a perfect child. We use criticism and manipulation as tools to get them to doing what we think they should do which actually back fires in most cases. In his book “Whale done” Ken Blanchard talks about accentuating the positive and redirecting energy when mistakes happen. This approach helps build confidence & self esteem. Kids also need to know that we are their biggest cheerleaders at all times. They need to know that we have their back. It is important for them to celebrate their wins but also to know that making mistakes and failing is part of life and learning to handle failure is perhaps the most important lesson that can help them develop resilience.
Help build confidence by strengthening learning
We all know that education provides the basic building block, which is the foundation to creating a successful future. Inculcate the love of learning in your child. Children tend to love what they understand and are comfortable with. Enrolling your child in online practice for Math and ELA can help them practice what they learn in school and become more comfortable with the subject material. It helps them gain confidence in their own ability to perform, sharpens their skills, and creates a winning culture. Georgia Test Prep offers a wide range of practice for the students to enhance their performance and create great results.
Some parting thoughts
Make a lot of deposits in your child’s life. Give them all the tools necessary to succeed in life. Love them unconditionally. Make sure to tell them often that you believe that they are the most magical and wonderful beings in this world; that they are capable of accomplishing anything that they set their hearts to and that is exactly what they will go on to do!