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Why Effective Communication Skills Are Important for Good Parenting
From:
Kathryn Brown Ramsperger -- Author & Intuitive Life Coach(R) Kathryn Brown Ramsperger -- Author & Intuitive Life Coach(R)
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Rockville , MD
Sunday, May 05, 2019

 

Knowing how to communicate well is important in any relationship, yet in parenting it’s critical! As a parent you are interacting with people who have yet to mature. They aren’t as experienced in life as they will be. It can be challenging to convey the proper messages and to accurately understand their undeveloped ability to articulate their feelings and needs. Here’s the rundown on why effective communication skills are important for good parenting.

Young children are forming beliefs about themselves and the world, and learning whom and what to trust. A large portion of these beliefs springs from how they are spoken to by the significant people in their lives. How do you speak to your child? Are your words and/or tone harsh and hurtful or caring and comforting? Do you respond with criticism to their missteps or do you offer understanding and encouragement?

The old childhood taunt, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” just isn’t true. Words can leave emotional scars that run deeper than physical wounds. There’s a big difference in what is being communicated in the following sentences.

One is condemning, the other redeeming:

“Stop! You’re doing that all wrong!”
“Here, let me show you a more effective way to do that.”

“What’s wrong with you? Why are you so (mean, bratty, obnoxious, etc.)?”
“This isn’t like you. Are you having a hard time?”

“You’ll never be good at (math, baseball, singing). You might as well give it up.”
“Wow, you put a lot of effort into that! With some training and practice you’ll just keep getting better!”

There are times—perhaps many each day—when your child needs correction, especially if they are toddlers, preschoolers, and of elementary school age. Yet they can be given correction without using language that devalues them as people. Cursing at your child or calling them derogatory names has no place in a healthy home. It can be difficult to not repeat the same patterns you may have experienced from your own parents, but it’s possible to break negative patterns and make positive changes in the way you treat your own children. Don’t give up on yourself or them!

Communication is more than getting your message across to your child or teenager. It’s looking at them while they talk to you, giving your undivided attention, and listening without interrupting. These nonverbal affirmations go far in helping your child develop a healthy self-concept and the confidence to tackle new concepts and skills. And it’s getting tougher to do as we email our boss from our home computer or engage with our friends on social media. Make sure you have some time each day to give your children your undivided attention.

Here’s one example of why it’s so important, reporting by Diane Sawyer on a recent ABC special:

https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/News/video/parents-impact-screen-time-babies-toddlers-62774533

So spend more time communicating with your kids and a few less moments on your phones! One major advantage to communicating well in the home is that children are more likely to cooperate with their parents. Lay out your expectations for chores, homework, manners, and behavior. Make sure your kids understand the consequences for both cooperation and noncooperation. When children understand the rules—in combination with feeling loved and valued—there will be fewer battles, less resistance, and greater harmony.

Listening, making eye contact, giving your full attention, and using words that affirm and encourage, models respect—the same respect you expect and require from them. Effective communication is both taught and caught. Lead by example. When children learn good communication skills in the home, they have a better chance to succeed at school, work, and play, giving them an advantage when they grow up and leave the nest. And this is the objective in good parenting: to raise responsible children who will become productive and responsible adults.

But how do you achieve all this? Here are some pointers:
Avoid:
  • Harsh or hurtful words
  • Name-calling and angry curse words
  • Lecturing and sermonizing
  • Nagging
  • Criticizing
  • Sarcasm
  • Shaming or guilting
  • Denying their feelings
Practice:
  • Problem-solving
  • Active listening
    (Repeat what they say in your own words to let you both know you understood.)
  • Expressing love and support
  • Playing or spending time together
  • Eating meals together
  • Empathy and forgiveness
  • Setting age-appropriate rules
  • Being available
  • Leading by example
  • Respect
  • Fun and play

Effective communication skills are both caught and taught. Children are more influenced by what we do than what we say, although deeds and words have the most impact when used together. They watch us to see how to treat others and they copy what they see. If your home is filled with negativity and arguments, children will learn those same habits. If your home is an environment of understanding and talking things out, and the parents model problem-solving and cooperation, children will have the wonderful opportunity of learning those skills as well.

Effective communication skills are not only important for good parenting, but they will strengthen your relationship with your children and lay the foundation of a good relationship with them when they are grown. And maybe they’ll practice the same behavior with their own relationships!

Kathryn Ramsperger is an author and coach, wife and mom whose son used to think she was playing computer games when she was working from home and writing. What are your kids thinking about you? If you’d like to chat with her about your relationships, parenting challenges, or how to spend more time playing with your kids than scrolling through Instagram, she’s here for you. Fill out this form for a complimentary no-obligation session to see how she can help you.

 
Author & Coach
Ground One LLC
North Bethesda, MD
301-503-5150