Let’s TALK about emotions – Communication tips for parents

Let’s TALK about emotions – Communication tips for parents

 

I’ve met many adults who in today’s world have been well trained how to communicate with their clients, while presenting new business strategy or negotiating but when it comes down to interpersonal communication or communicating about their feelings they are at a loss. This is a skill that needs to be learnt and parents need to start this with their kids even at a young age.

Because of the distractions of contemporary lifestyle this is something that we have to set up as a priority for the family. So let’s talk about how we can integrate communication and emotions in our family lives.

 

Be aware of Communication Blockers

The first rule to remember it that we need to make each day count and not just live for the weekend or those vacation days. Children will not learn to communicate if they don’t see it model in their daily life or if they are not communicated to. One of most recent clocker for teaching communication is the technology. Texting, tweeting, and face book are supposed to make it easier for everyone to communicate, that’s true, but we often forget to communicate with the person(s) who might be sitting there right in front of us. Our kids are seriously missing out on something because you cannot have a deeply heartfelt conversation about emotions in person.

 

Everyone has feelings.

Talking openly about emotions is vitally important and forms a part of the basis of the positive family communication. Remind your children that everyone has feelings and that all feelings are normal. Often we do forget that kids have absolutely the same right to feel anger or sadness as we do. The key role here plays the ability to talk about the appropriate ways to express feelings. For example, “You are angry that your sister grabbed your toy. You can tell her nicely to give it back or ask mommy for help. No hitting, remember?” Teaching kids the importance of expressing emotions in a respectful way is crucial to mastering effective communication in future.

 

Choose to be patient.

As busy parents, we have so much on our plates. If we try to be more organized and not having to rush everywhere, we could create the necessary time for a talk. When we are impatient with our children for whatever reason we can more easily missed out on what they are saying to us and not truly listen to them. In doing that we are losing out on opportunity where we can help our children learn to communicate better or express their emotions.

 

Listen = Acknowledgement

Let’s not forget that positive communication is a two-way street; not only you have to talk but also to listen. When we are listening, we need to think about what is it that is really important. Active listening means that not only you should pay extra attention to non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions and tone of voice but also you need to share what you have heard with what you have understood from it.

 

Sometimes the best way to continue a conversation is simply to acknowledge your child’s feelings. Saying something like “I can see that you are concerned about your school’s grade.” is a simple way you can let your child know that you understand what s/he’s going through and that it is okay to share those feelings.

 

“Give mummy a minute” – use it to teach.

When you need time to concentrate and can’t give your kids your full attention (which always happens), tell them how much time you need and also what you expect from them during that time. They need to know that you will come back to them and will listen attentively to what they want to say. Use this situation to teach not only communication and understanding but also for them to learn to respect somebody else’s time. The worst thing we can say would be just: ‘go and do your things’ or ‘don’t interrupt I have to work’. Kids are craving attention for different reasons and we need to be able to notice them and understand so that our reaction will be relevant to those needs.

 

Agree to disagree.

Even if you disagree with what your child is saying, don’t interrupt them in order to share your opinion. Be patient, listen, pay attention to them and what they are trying to express. Wait until they’re finished with what they’re saying, and then state your reasons for disagreeing with them. Remember that it’s also a part of communication practice.

 

‘Grandpa’ wisdom

In today transient culture, many families don’t live down the street from each other anymore. In fact, many don’t even live in the same country. The misfortune of that is that many grandparents would love to do nothing more than listen and give their time to their beloved grandchildren. However, it might be hard for parents to agree with grandparents parenting styles, we all know that this is a great deal. Spending time with grandparents or older people in general teaches children how to relate to a person of a different generation but also can be a wealth of wisdom because of life experience and willingness to share it.

It often builds new opportunities for kids to practice and try themselves in different environment, in different communication rules and style.

 

Talking through conflict

Now you teach your child the basics of communication but don’t forget the main purpose – you are building a foundation for them to develop into successful communicator in business life and in personal life (because they might become future spouses in due course). As your child grows the home should become a training ground to teach things such as how to communicate feelings, learn to ask for help and work through disagreements.

Help them learn that people are all different and our personality and temperament may affect our communication styles. The goal is to communicate to reach a happy resolution for both.

 

Some quick tips to do that:

– Remember that everyone is comfortable with different situations.

– Designate a regular family time – have a weekly family night or a daily check-in before bed. Do whatever works best for your family.

– Be open-minded. Try starting conversations in new ways instead of always asking how school was. For example ‘Tell me something exciting about your day’

– Keep in mind that sometimes the unexpected moments can be the best times to open the doors of communication.

 

It may be difficult at first, but I’m sure you will find that with practice, taking time to talk will become a part of your everyday routine.

Enjoy, 

Beata

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