Are We Talking Or Preaching Parents? A Reflection On Communication With Children

As parents we probably have many good intentions when communicating with our children. But having a good intention is not enough. Apply these ideas to create an atmosphere of dialogue in your home when you talk with your children.

We advise our children, as parents, and answer their questions. It is so common that there are even manuals on how to answer questions about traumatic events, disasters or terrorism. When they come for help on difficult subjects, we always have good intentions to communicate the best to them. However, it is frustrating that kids often show disappointment and lack of understanding after a conversation. It is therefore necessary to stop and think for a moment if we are really talking to our children or lecturing their actions.

It all starts with the homey atmosphere that we create as a family. We can foster a climate of dialogue in which they feel confident that they will not be superficially criticized, but supported by their good decisions and that they will receive adequate guidance when they do not know what to do about a certain fact. Consider the following steps that, personally, have helped me become a dialogue parent with my children:

Parents who dialogue with their children avoid a sermon

Perhaps in our opinion we do not give “sermons” to our children; however, it may appear otherwise to them, depending on our attitude. Dialogue with children often requires that we listen before we speak. This gives us the opportunity to understand what they are trying to communicate to us so we know if they are looking for an answer or advice. For example, a “preaching” parent would respond: “I told you that would happen to you because children who disobey…”. Probably the son knows that having disobeyed, what his father warned him happened. We must take into account that, if we judge or criticize our children too much, we can fall into parental bullying. A “dialogue” father, on the other hand, would ask his son: “What have you thought about this lesson you learned?”, “What are you going to do to reverse your actions?” This will make it easier for you to express what you think, and then seek advice beyond your parents and act on it.

Parents who dialogue with their children take advantage of opportune teaching moments

Sometimes we are burdened by job demands and other responsibilities that require time and attention. This can affect the family when children have questions or important issues to discuss with their parents, and receive responses such as: “Not now, I’m busy”, or “After this project is over, we can talk.” Perhaps that moment will never come or the child has lost interest by the time the parents can talk to him. Many moral tragedies among young people could be avoided if a parent had been there on time, listening carefully to what the child has tried to communicate. By paying attention to what they communicate to us, we can take advantage of these opportunities to teach them specific principles about that experience.

Parents who talk to their children teach them excellent attitudes

What positive attitudes do we want our children to develop to be successful in their goals? Although the list of attitudes that we would like to see in them seems extensive, many could be taught through dialogue. To illustrate this truth, I invite you to consider the following attitudes that children may develop when dialogue between parents and children takes place at home: a) They are more likely to express their feelings and communicate them confidently; b) They learn to take turns and respect other people’s opinions; c) They have tendencies to see different options of choice and to apply one or more advice; d) They strengthen the relationship with their parents; and e) They become understanding of others by seeing their weaknesses and identifying their own strengths. These are just a few of the many benefits I have seen in my own family as a result of dialogue with my children.

In conclusion, if we want to avoid practices that may cause a distance between us and our children, it is essential that we become educating parents ; This will allow us to dialogue about what really affects them personally and what makes them happy. In this way, they will also establish the basis of a productive and understanding life, not only for themselves, but also for their future families.

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