Toddlers never stop talking even for a second, making their moms and dads crave for some silence and moment in peace; while the kids in their growing up phase seem to just clam up. It is such a big contradiction and can leave parents feeling confused. Children, while growing up, become introverts and take everything deep inside to process. Since they start to learn new things, feel differently and crave independence, their first reaction to everything, especially conflicting things, is to go inside their self woven cocoon and reflect. Especially if your kid is entering into his/her pre-teens, he/she would intensely desire for solitude and independence. For parents, it is natural to feel helpless when their relationship with their own kid starts to feel estranged. Parents feel disunified with their children, not knowing where to start to mend the relationship. The important thing here to understand is that your relationship with your child is not affected because of any negative influence; it is only suffering because your child is going through a phase of change and you probably do not know how to handle it. The only way to get through this phase is to understand the situation sensitively from your kid’s point of view. He/she has probably hit the stage in his/her life where the idea of individuality is taking a solid shape; you will have to recognize it and respect it otherwise you will never be able to loosen up your kid or make him/her trust you enough to discuss his/her mounting issues and insecurities. Your kid is already going through a difficult transformation and the last thing he/she wants is to be judged by you. The truth is that your kid needs you as a friend at this stage because he/she is going through tricky emotions in his/her life; the changes in body and mind, changing relationships, peer pressure, academic pressures, etc. are already taking a toll on him/her. You can be a good friend and a guide at this point to your kid; do not wreck the opportunity by trying to act like a typical ‘parent’. In this article we will address the problem of affected communication between child and parent, and tips on how to get your child to open up and talk.
Tips On How To Get Children To Open Up & Talk
Do Not Get Overbearing: Your children will only open up to you if they will feel that you will understand them or give them a fair chance, do not coax them and scare them away. Be calm, composed and gentle, just like a friend. If your child still insists on being left alone then respect his/her decision. Your kid will come around when he/she will feel comfortable around you. Therefore, do not keep asking your child if he/she is okay or why is he/she not talking. Give your child a breather and let him/her approach you; all you have to do is be available but don’t be overbearing.
Respect The Space: Children during their ‘silence’ phase become very attached to their personal space. Never challenge this, instead respect your child’s space and let him/her feel that you respect his/her individuality. Do not force your authority because this will only leave him/her feeling that you are challenging his personal identity, which will make him/her guarded against you. If you want your child to open up to you then you have to take up the role of his/her friend first and parent later. Do not challenge him/her because you will end up creating a ‘rebel’ against you.
Listen: Pay attention to your kid when he/she is talking to you, do not take anything that he/she says for granted. May be how your kid feels and thinks is hidden behind these trivial things that he/she is talking about. Show your kid that you are available and will listen to him/her with zero judgment. Do not interrupt your kid when he/she is expressing him/herself. Your role should be to sit there and listen with an empathetic expression on your face. Interact only when it is expected from you to make a comment or ask a question. Do not jump to conclusions. Do not be impatient while your child is talking; children have their peculiar way of expressing themselves, show tolerance and respect towards it.
Make Conversations: Do not only wait for your kid to approach you, you can also start a conversation. Go to his/her room and start a light conversation about his/her interests or school or friends. Initiate any topic that you think excites your kid. Ask constructive questions from him/her and let your kid do the talking. Instill some humor in the conversation, it will help your kid loosen up and be more inclined towards you.
Special Time: Take out special ‘bonding’ time with your kid, which means that you will have to share one of his/her interests and dedicate sometime to it everyday, along with him/her. May be you both can play a game of scrabble together every night before bedtime or go for brunch every weekend or go to cinemas to watch a movie together every month; it could be anything that involves just you and your kid. This will help your kid to open up with you and make you his/her confidant.
Do Not Get Angry: If your consideration towards your kid is responded with a negative reaction then do not get angry. Instead show that it had hurt you, not overtly but simply put in words and tell him/her that it had hurt you how he/she treated you with disdain. Your child will feel guilty and approach you especially when he/she will see that you did not react badly to his/her attack. And when your kid does come to mend relations with you then receive him/her with love and care. This will definitely change his/her mind towards you.
Be Available: Always be available for your kid, never push them away by keeping yourself unnecessarily busy. If you will be always busy then your child will end up thinking that he/she is not welcome in your world and will start keeping to him/herself. Once this distance is established between you and your kid then it will be very difficult to change it and the next thing you know, there will be a huge communication gap between you and your child. Although, if there are times when you are genuinely busy and do not have time for your child then make sure that you apologize for it and make up for it later.