"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 encouragesrather than discouragesparent-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 youlate 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 timebut 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 moreand you less. That's normal.1