Can We Talk?

6 ways to boost better communication with your child

"You just don't understand!" "It's no use talking to you about it."

If you're a mom, chances are you've heard one of these phrases from your kids. More than anything, all moms long for good communication with their kids, but the reality is, it doesn't happen unless you cultivate an atmosphere of acceptance in your home. The following six actions will help you create an environment that encourages—rather than discourages—parent-child communication.

1. Make Time for Them

True communication grows out of the relational groundwork you create when your children are young. Set aside daily time with each child. Read him a story; build a sandcastle; go for a walk and collect flowers or stones along the way.

Much fuss has been made over the quality-time versus quantity-time issue. But for our kids, it's not either/or, it's both. Little amounts of time work with little kids. But as they grow older, you can't "program" time when a teen will want to talk. You have to hang around just in case the urge strikes. And it's likely it will strike at an inconvenient time for you—late at night, or right in the midst of a project. If your teen wants to talk, turn off the TV (just pushing the mute button isn't enough). Setting aside your own agenda to listen to your child takes time—but it's well worth it!

2. Ask Good Questions

You may have one child who tells you everything, but another who's so uncommunicative, you wonder how two children in the same family can be so different. Relax! Each child is wired differently, and as your kids move into the teen years, they talk to their friends more—and you less. That's normal.

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May 25

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