Communication Clarity

Communication Clarity

Quality communication promotes open discussion, healthy emotional expression, and positive parent and child relationships.

  1. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Your words, tone, body language, when, and where you are having the conversation all contribute to the quality of your communication. Think about these 5 tips for effective communication and make choices that will contribute to effective, positive, and clear communication with your kiddos.
  • Choose your words
  • Choose your tone
  • Choose your body language
  • Choose your timing
  • Choose your place
  • For example:

If your kiddo left their homework packet at school, and it is due tomorrow:

5 TipsActions discouraging quality conversation:Actions promoting quality conversation:
WordsName calling (lazy, forgetful, irresponsible, etc.).

Words that cast judgement. (You always forget your homework. You must have ran out of time. etc.).

Not talking about it at all.

“Please help me understand why you forgot to bring your homework packet home.”
Tone

 

Having this conversation with a short, irritated, nasty, and/or yelling/loud tone of voice.Having this conversation with a loving, calm, concerned voice.
Body languageDistracted with cell phone, television, computer etc. Standing over your kiddo. Arms raised or arms crossed demonstrating anger, frustration, and/or closed off communication.Be free from distractions such as cell phone, television, computer, etc. Sit close to your kiddo with eye contact and open to receive communication.
TimingHaving this conversation the next day.Having this conversation as soon as possible.
PlaceHaving this conversation in an open or public setting where others can hear.Having this conversation privately, between parent and child.

 

  1. Be a good listener

Active listening demonstrates your interest in what your kiddo is saying and promotes quality communication with you kiddo. Think about these 3 tools for active listening.

  • Eliminate distractions
  • Practice patience
  • Pause for reflection

 

 

  • Eliminate distractions
    • Avoid having your cell phone in your hands, watching television, or participating in any other distracting behavior as your kiddo is talking to you. As you focus your attention on them, and what they are trying to tell you, you demonstrate your genuine interest and promote a safe, trusting environment for your kiddo to share.

 

  • Be patient
    • Your kiddo will most likely be ready to talk when you are not ready to listen. When ask about their day, your kiddo may give you a one word answer. You were prepared to sit and listen, but they were not prepared to share. Now that you are busy or distracted, your kiddo wants to open up and talk. This can be very challenging. Please remember, this is a phase. Your kiddo is learning how to communicate. As you are patient and put them first, you will create a safe and trusting relationship. As they get older, they will know that they can turn to you to share their hopes, dreams, fears, and concerns. Be patient and flexible as your kiddo learns communication skills.
    • Being patient also means being still. Resist the urge to interrupt your kiddo. There will be time to advise, consult, teach, and share. As a good listener, you must first be quiet, still, and open to listening.

 

  • Pause for reflection
    • Reflection can promote clarity, demonstrate listening skills, provide empathy, and validate your kiddos feelings. Reflection also provides an opportunity to teach your kiddo that it is ok to feel and talk about emotions. Sometimes our kiddos do not know what to call their emotions. As you reflect with your kiddo, watch their behavior and listen to them as they describe how it makes them feel. Help them find words that reflect how they feel. You may have to start by guessing an emotion. Work with your kiddo to help them identify their emotions.
      • For example:
        • kiddo à “My friends would not play with me at recess and it did not feel good.”
        • reflecting parent à “I am sorry that your friends would not play with you. I understand why that does not feel good.” “Did it make you feel sad?”
      • For example:
        • kiddo à crying and showing signs of feeling upset
        • reflecting parent à “I see that you are upset” or “It looks like something is bothering you.”
          • Your kiddo may not know what they are feeling or experiencing. You can work together to talk through it and figure it out.
        • Reflection also provides loving correction and teaching.
          • For example:
            • kiddo à “I want psgetthi”
            • reflecting parent à“Are you asking if you can please have some spaghetti?”

 

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