When talking to your kiddos, it’s important to keep these few tips in mind. First, it is helpful to ask your child open ended questions. Oftentimes parents get frustrated with the simple “yes” or “no” answer without realizing they’ve asked a yes or no question. While your teenager could, of course, choose to elaborate, asking an open-ended question gives better opportunity to share. For example, instead of asking, “how was your day,” try asking “what’s the best thing that happened to you today?”
Secondly, assume the best. This is true regardless of whom we are talking to. If we approach a conversation assuming the best about the person, we tend to phrase our question is a less defensive provoking way. In my opinion, this ultimately produces deeper relationships and instills more confidence in your child. If you constantly approach your child trying to search for the things they’ve done wrong, this leaves little room for celebrating the good. A child needs to know they’re believed in. When a child does do something wrong, they are more likely to open up about it because they will be confident that the parent loves them and they won’t be afraid of approaching you.
Lastly, don’t sacrifice your relationships for your to-do list. I’ll give you an example to show you what I mean by this. Say I am in the middle of a number of house chores and my goal is to finish the laundry, cook dinner and finish a work assignment by tonight. Say my little one comes up to me during the middle of my to-do list upset because she can’t find her blanket. Now as an adult we can see that this is absolutely not the end of the world. But am I going to let my child know that her emotions and needs are important by taking an extra five minutes to help her find it? Or am I going to continue my to-do list because I think it’s more important? Situations like this can unintentionally communicate to children that their needs don’t matter. Is having a goal of getting your to-do list finished a bad thing? Absolutely not! But if doing laundry becomes more important than the relationship, it is.
I'm a Christian counselor who loves to help people get to the root of their current problems so they can live from a place of authenticity and freedom!