By Norhidayah Binti Azmi
This article discusses how to communicate with children. Communication is about understanding the emotions and intentions of a child. There are three tips for parents to know about communication with children. For instance, parents should communicate on the same level as the child, use more positive directions than negative and avoid yelling at their child.
Listening and talking are important to create a good bond and connection between you as a parent with your child. Good communication is part of parenting skill. Parenting can be more successful when the relationship between parent and a child is established in harmonious. The most challenging for being a parent is when they have no skill to communicate with their child in two-way communication. According to Clay (n.d), two-way communications occur when parents and children communicate with each other and not only one person communicates.
There are generally two different approaches for parents to communicate with their child. The first one is through an aggressive way. Parents communicate by yelling a lot and using attacking words. The effect to the child is, he or she may respond in many different ways, such as by playing up a lot or feeling fearful. The child might learn to yell back at the parents and people surrounding them. The worst is if children start ignoring their parents’ orders and lost respect towards their parents.
The second way of communicating is through the assertive way. Parents communicate with consistent, clear, warm, welcoming and the most important are they talk with positive attitude. The effect shown by the child through this way is a positive response and well-behaved attitude. Healthy communication is the key to building your child’s confidence and self-esteem. Besides that, appropriate communication also can reinforce the ethical and moral behaviour of your child. It would help you to understand your child better and remove bad behaviour of your child.
Here are some tips for good parents to develop skills to communicate with your child:
Tip# 1: Communicate on the same level as the child
Communication can be more effective and interactive when both can talk at the same level. It means parents can stoop down to the child’s level or even sit beside the child as a friend. Moreover, parents must use eye contact with their child. This is because eye contact makes the child feel comfortable and feel being appreciated. According to Gardner-Nablett & Gallagher (2013), gesture and eye contact are natural ways that children learn to communicate and explore their world. If parents want their children to listen to them, parents should listen to their children first. Give them full attention and communicate using eye contact.
Tip#2: Use more positive direction than negative
As parents, they are not supposed to tell their children what not to do. Communication with children is to tell them what to do. Avoid nagging at them if they do wrong. Besides that, parents are advised to avoid using adult language when communicating with your children. Always practice using simple words when giving an order to them to avoid misunderstanding. Take more time to introduce new vocabularies to them. According to Hamer (2012), a child’s language development is very much an active and interactive process, rather than a passive one.
Tip#3: Avoid yelling to your children
Yelling will become a habit when parents are emotional with overloaded work or while doing housekeeping. Yelling is one of the worst methods of communication and in fact, you are teaching your child up to yell back at you. According to Coulson (n.d), the effects of yelling are that parents may be surprised at the damage that can be done to their child when they yell. Researchers at the University of Pittsburg in the US conducted a two-year study and found that teens whose parents yelled for discipline experienced increased behaviour issues. Once you feel stress and being emotional when facing your child’s attitude, take a deep breath and give your time with something that can make you feel happy and comfortable. Then come back to your child and talk to your child with positive communication after you feel calm.
In conclusion, according to Hazen and Black (1989) children did not adapt their communication skills in different contexts. Parents should become a good role model showing a good attitude especially when they communicate with their children. It is one of the big responsibility of parents to understand that communication skill is part of important elements to nurture their children.
Coulson. J. (n.d). How to discipline your kids without shouting. News. Com. Au.
Clay. S. G. (n.d). Communicating with parents. The School Community Journal, 117-129.
Gardner-Nablett. N & Gallagher. (2013). More Than Baby Talk. UNC Frank Porter Graham
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Hamer. C. (2012). Parent-child communication is important from birth. NCT’S Journal on
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