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Communicating with children improves parent- child relationships Michelle Roberts ECE 355 Understanding Behavior & Family Dynamics Suzanne LeBeau December 2, 2013


Communicating with children improves parent- child relationships

Introduction It is important that parents understand what it means to communicate with their children. Parents need to communicate with their children in order to maintain a healthy relationship. Communication is sending and receiving information from one to another. Children learn by example and will react and respond to others as the adults do that are around them. It is important to understand that communication is more than just speaking, and how we communicate with each other and our children defines the relationships we have and will have with them. Open, effective communication benefits not only the children, but every member of the family. Relationships between parents and their children are greatly improved when there is effective communication taking place (Zolten and Long 2009). Parents need to communicate with their children because communication opens many doors and allows both the parent and the child to grow and build on their relationships with one another. Contemporary Parenting Model The National Extension Parent Educational Model offers a means to assist parent educators in developing and focusing their parent-education efforts, it is about teaching parenting essentials (Welch and Turner 2012). Parents need all the help they can get when it comes to communicating with children even if they do not feel they need any help. Parenting is the hardest job a person can have and it is also the most rewarding job as well. The National Extension Parent Educational Model teaches some important parenting skills. They teach that self-care is important, and can be done by managing personal stress, family resources and offering support to


the other parent. This is beneficial to children because what happens around children influences them. It also teaches parents how important understanding childrens development is. It also teaches parents the importance of establishing reasonable limits and allowing children to be able to experience age appropriate things. This is an important for conveying fundamental values, teach problem solving skills monitoring their activities and contact with peers (Welch and Turner pg. 127). It also teaches the importance of motivation. Children need to be motivated and taught about themselves and the world around them. It is important that children are a part of interactive learning, because it will help them to process and manage information. Another key point that is addressed is teaching parents to be their childs advocate. The more parents understand about communication and how it affects their children the better their relationships will be with their children. Personal Parenting Philosophy I believe that the way parents communicate or do not communicate with their children has a huge impact on them their entire life. Children begin to form ideas and beliefs about themselves based on how their parents communicate with them (Zolten and Long 2009). The way parents communicate with their children and with others teach children how others should treat them and how they should treat others. Parents have such an influence over their children just by how they communicate or do not communicate with them. Also it is important that parents do not nag or criticize their children because doing this causes children to have self-esteem problems. Children need to have their feelings supported by their parents. Parents need to show their children understanding when it comes to their feelings. If they don't, children will as a result feel misunderstood by their parents (Zolten and Long 2009).


Here are some examples of things parents can say to their children to help open the lines of communication: "I'd like to hear about it." "Tell me more about that." "Shoot. I'm listening." "I understand." "What do you think about ...? "Would you like to talk about it?" "Is there anything else you'd like to talk about?" "That's interesting." "Wow!" "I'm interested." "Explain that to me." (Zolten and Long 2009) Strengths of the Selected Model

There are some key points that parents need to know about before they communicate with their children. Everything parents say and how they listen to their children sends a message to their children about how they are felt about. Parents who provide their children with plenty of love, understanding and acceptance are helping to create a climate for open communication. Children who feel loved and accepted by their parents are more likely to open up and share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns with their parents (Zolten and Long 2009). It is important to make and maintain eye contact when communicating with their children, because children deserve their parents undivided attention while they are communicating with each other. It is also important to listen without speaking while their child is talking, this teaches children about


respect. Parents also have to be able to ask questions and share their thoughts and feelings in a respectful manner with their children. Another great way to encourage positive family communication is by have family talk times; this allows a time where everyone can discuss things that are going on in and around their lives. Also parents have to be able to admit when they do not have an answer, because children need to know the truth and understand that parents sometimes do not have all the answers and there are other means to get the answer. Another key point to having a positive family communication is to work on one problem at a time, to always be polite, use I messages, and be willing and able to offer forgiveness.

Enhancing Communication Parents need to be offered materials that will help them to be better parents. Sometimes it may come from a group, articles, peers, and radio broadcasts. When parents have an open communication with their children everyone benefits from it. Children need to be able to discuss anything with their parents and know that everything is going to be ok. Children are like adults they need to be able to feel loved and appreciated and know that they matter. A house cannot be truly a happy home if there is not positive communication happening. When communication is closed off people will have emotional issues and it puts a strain on the family. Here are some parent-child communication techniques that can be beneficial.

Let your child know that you are interested and will help when needed. > Hold conversations in private. > Don't tower over your child. Physically get down to your child's level, then talk. > If you are very angry about a behavior or an incident, dont attempt communications until you regain your cool, because you cannot be objective until then?


> If you are very tired, you will have to make an extra effort to be an active listener. Genuine active listening is hard work and is very difficult when your mind and body are already tired. > Don't interrupt. Be as courteous as you would be to your best friend. > Don't ask why, but do ask what happened. > If you have knowledge of the situation, confront your child with the information that you know or have been told. > Don't name-call or use put-down words. > Assist the child in finding a solution to the problem. > Show that you accept your child, regardless of what happened. > Praise the child's efforts to communicate and stress that the lines of communication will remain open. (Copyright, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution - 2006) Conclusion Parents have to know that they are not perfect and that they will make mistakes, because communicating with children is not easy and if you do not understand how children development and the importance of communicating with children, the parent- child relationship may have some issues. It is also important that parents begin to communicate with their children from the beginning , do not wait till they are half grown and already set in their ways , because they will have learned how to and not to communicate by watching their parents. The earlier parents develop a parent child communication relationship the stronger the relationship will be.


References By Kristin Zolten|Nicholas Long Center for Effective Parenting Updated on Jan 2, 2009

PRINCIPLES OF GOOD PARENT-CHILD COMMUNICATION Copyright, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution - 2006

Welch, K. & Turner, P. (2012). Parenting in Contemporary Society (5th Ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.