Talking To Your Children
What do you want to know about your children? Do you want to know if they are having sex, if they are failing a class, if they have acceptable friends? Or do you want to know how they really feel, what their hopes and dreams are, the exciting parts of their day, their moments of worry and stress? How often do you really talk and then LISTEN to your child?
Making time for your child is very important, and it is becoming more publicized that speaking to your child can and does make a difference in the use of drugs, tobacco and alcohol. But how can you really “talk” to your child if you are not listening?
Listening requires the parent to stop lecturing and really pay attention to what the child says and how he/she says it. Asking the right questions really can determine what the child replies and how the conversation can continue. Parents who ask the same questions every day, mundane questions about how the day has gone, may get the same answers every day. Ask different questions; ask about relationships; ask about goals; ask about funny things that happened; ask about what the child thinks about what should happen—what solutions are viable for different situations.
Children love to have their parents take an interest in their lives. Even teens, who pretend otherwise. Teens are sorely disappointed and often complain that “Mom and Dad don’t really know me” or “They don’t care” enough to spend time with me. Yes, teens can be surly and can give off an attitude that suggests they don’t want their parents around, but most of the time, they really do want their parents to show an interest, to ask questions, and to be a part of their lives.
Engage your children in the car—–ask them to unhook the headphones, turn down the radio. Mine always used to complain that it was unfair—they couldn’t just leave the conversation, as they were my captive audience, but most of the time this is where our best conversations were. Part of it was that they didn’t have to make eye contact (not if mom were paying attention to the road) while telling or asking me some very embarrassing things. And the other part was that we were pretty much guaranteed privacy during the drive.
As parents, as our children get older and talk to their friends more, it seems that we become less important for a while. But we have to work hard at staying connected to our teens especially, and we have to make time to hear what they are telling us, what they would tell us if we only allow them to be heard.Tags: listening to your children, parents engage your children
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
Licensed Professional Counselor
Advanced Clinical HypnoTherapist
- Deb England began working part-time for Wholeness Healing Center in September 2004 and began full-time in May 2005. Deb practices primarily in the Broken Bow office and one day a week in the Grand Island office. Previously she had completed her practicum and internship at Morning Star Alliance, working in the Broken Bow and Grand Island offices.
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