Really Good Listener

Even though your children may not act like it, they are craving acceptance from you, the parent. And not only is it important what you say, but how you say it that will make the difference. To create a strong bond that combines talking with action and keeps the lines of communication open:

Love your kids unconditionally. Tell them you have confidence in them, that you will care for them no matter what they accomplish or don’t accomplish.

Praise generously, but genuinely. All children thrive on praise and affection. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but can be as simple as, “That’s great. Way to go.”

Try to give a reason for every rule. Don’t just say, “Because I said so.” Trying to explain your decision will help them understand why sometimes you have to say no. 

Some things that parents say are just plain wrong. The fact is parents give 96% negative attention to their children in the form of threats, commands, and orders. So, try to avoid these communication no-nos:

Making crying an offense.  “Don’t start crying – or I’ll give you something to cry about,” parents often say.  But crying is a valid response and your child is exposing their vulnerability.

Blaming or name calling. “Stop acting stupid!”  “You’re so lazy, you know that?” takes the focus off the behavior in question and elevates it to a personal attack.  This is like throwing gasoline on a fire.

Avoid mixed messages of praise and improvement , such as, That was fine, but…”
Save the improvement lecture for another time.

Take time to listen to your kids and devote your attention to what they are saying.  Don’t say “in just a minute” or “not right now.”  It devalues your child and kids know when parents are pretending to listen. Creating a strong bond by the way you communicate builds up “credit” with your child so that when you have to use discipline or set limits, it is less stressful.





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