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How to talk to your children

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Try to imagine this. You are talking to a colleague, partner, friend or neighbor. You say something, the other is responding, you are responding, etc. You agree, or you discus, or you listen. This is talking.

The same thing should happen between parent and child. But somehow, many parents are not doing this. Probably it is fear, or not knowing how to do this. It has also to do with respect. For many it feels awkward to talk to children.

Talking to children is not telling them what to do. Or letting them obey you. Or telling what they did wrong or telling them how they should behave. This is telling. Not talking. Talking is a two way street; not a one way street. That is telling. Talking includes listening and trying to get into their world.

If you talk and listen to a child, means, you show interest in the little person. Maybe this is the most important thing you can do to a child. Believe me, many children are missing someone who listens to them, and this will influence their behavior and self esteem in a negative way. Why do you think someone feels lonely. Think about it.

Talking is for instance asking children what they have done at school today. Or what they think of a TV show. But you have to really mean it.

If you talk to them, talk to them sincerely, so do not watch TV at the same time. You could make a habit of this when they arrive from school.

If children give shorts answers, keep on asking questions. If a child does not want to talk, it is most of the time because it is used to parents who do not care about him or her. Because this feeling starts if one is not listening to you. If you do not listen to someone, you do not care about that person. Or a child is criticized all the time if it says something. I would shut up to. Would you talk to someone who doesn't want to listen? Or always comment?

So ask them about their school day and respond to their answers. This is talking. In other words, show interest  in the world of your children. Many / most children are missing this in their life's. It is very important for them. If they talk about count, challenge them. Let them multiply or add. Start simple and then increase the bar.

Children love this. They like to be challenged. Or make a game of it. Who is faster, you, or your child. If it is about drawing, you can respond with "I bet you cannot draw a giraffe."

If you are sitting on your couch with your child, discussing if sports team A is better as sports team B, you are talking. Treat children like little adults. This is what good parents should do.

And do not have the attitude I am always right and you are always wrong, because I am big and you are small. Admitting to a child you are wrong, is not weakness. It is strength. It is showing I am not afraid of saying I am wrong. It is a sign of honesty. Your child will appreciate this a lot.

So, be a good parent and listen and talk to your children.

Some children have big problems, like abuse, bullying and other violence outside the family. But if a child has nobody who is willing to listen, the higher the change he or she will also not talk about these problems too. "Nobody is going to listen to me."

But if you do it the right way, so really talking and listening, one other thing is going to happen. If you listen to a child, the child starts to relax and will open up. Very often you will see a smile. Once they have the feeling you are really listening (= taking them seriously), a lot of talk will come from them, including problems. This is because a lot is on their mind and so far they did not have anybody who wanted to listen.

If a child does not (want to) talk to parents, the parents are the problem. All children want to talk, but they stop doing that if the other is not listening or even hurting them. Put yourself in their shoes.

And if you have open talks with children, so including a lot of listening, the child will start to like you (more). Don't be surprised if a little child crawls on your lap if you change your attitude. This is because he or she feels comfortable with you now. If you change, your child will change. I can almost guarantee it.

One day I got a response from a dad (this info was somewhere else first) who used my parenting info. This is something I will never forget. Maybe I said it somewhere else. He said: "I have to say, this is the first day I have tried your techniques. My child starting kissing me. She said she was happy to be with me and this was her best day ever."

And once again I am saying things very hard. I want to wake-up the ones who need it. Don't blame yourself if you are now realizing you have done things wrong. You didn't know it. But now you know and now you can improve yourself.