Family life

Maintaining open communication with growing children

Sometimes, when children grow up, we struggle to maintain a good communication with them. Still, as you can imagine, it is the key to a healthy relationship between you and them.

There are great principles that supposedly help us maintain a good relationship with our children like asking open questions, questions to which they cannot answer yes or no. It’s good, noted, what else? For long periods of their lives, children need intimacy. It doesn’t mean they are hiding something but they choose what they want to tell us. For the communication to run smoothly and effectively, we must pay attention to our children and the signals they send us when they would like to have “a little chat”. And be careful, sometimes the signals won’t be very obvious; it can be just tiny little hints.

So it is best to get used early to decipher our child… it would be the key to good communication.

Here is a list of tips “approved” by the world’s leading children specialists: the mothers! We asked around, on the Facebook page and to mothers around us.

Write little notes. I found on a Quebec blog that the author (a mom) received one evening a letter from her daughter. She replied and that is how their correspondence began. Every evening, her daughter writes a message and she replies. Letters can be a wonderful way to talk about delicate subjects. 

A variation…
Writing emails. We can create an email address for our child or use Facebook to talk. We reply, we say hi, we have fun… live (almost!), that is a good way to keep the bond.

Be careful not to ask too many questions.  “I used to want to know everything my daughter had done in school as soon as she set foot in the house. I was asking a thousand questions. To me, it was just a way of being interested in her day-to-day life. To her, it was like a police questioning and intrusive. In fact, I realized that it’s not that she didn’t want to tell me about her day; it was just the wrong moment. She needed to settle a bit before going through her day again. Since then, I gave her about fifteen minutes to do what she wanted when she came back from school and then we slowly discussed! “ (Nadine)

Finding the words. “With my seven-year old daughter, it’s complicated. She keeps everything to herself until she “explodes”. Everything blows up! I explained that I can’t guess how she feels if she never tells me what’s wrong. It took her some time but now she knows that she can tell me when something’s wrong. We take the time to talk when there’s a problem.“ (Suzanne)

Pass the torch Sometimes we must accept that someone else will be our child’s confidant, even if we would like to know everything about his life. We must understand that his friends are more and more important or that he feels more comfortable with another adult to discuss certain subjects.

Always be true  “I think we must earn his trust. Our child must know that we give him importance and that we feel privileged when he trusts us. We must stay true to our words and encourage openness even when he behaved badly. Being open is the key!” (Caroline)

Stop judging and minimizing! Nobody likes to be ridiculed, to hear that his experiences are not important or to hear hurtful comments. If we want our child to trust us and be happy to share something with us, we must avoid easy judgments. We shouldn’t minimize his sadness, his emotions or his feelings either. Otherwise, we could end up shutting the oyster forever.

Respect”Be open! My daughters do stupid things sometimes; the important thing is to avoid humiliating them. It’s in those moments that they shut us off, I think. For now, I am very lucky, my daughters externalize a lot…” (Julie)

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