Staying connected with children- communicating and active listening

In today’s busy and socially connected world, maintaining offline connections and fostering open communication with our children is important. When children feel heard and supported, they develop confidence and resilience which fosters a sense of security and comfort, laying a groundwork for strong parent-child relationships. Research suggests that this is crucial for equipping children with the skills to navigate challenges like substance abuse, intimate relationships and also help in shaping children’s socio-emotional development and overall success in life.

“Effective communication between parents and children is a two-way process involving listening and expressing.”

Active Listening – being fully engaged, when your child is talking to you.
Active listening is a fundamental aspect of effective communication between parents and children. It involves being fully present and engaged when your child is expressing themselves. Here’s how you can practice active listening:

  • Creating a Distraction-Free Environment: Setting aside dedicated time to engage with your child without any distractions such as gadgets or other commitments. Giving them your undivided attention, when the child initiates a conversation.
  • Demonstrating Empathy: Sitting down with the children and listening empathetically, allowing them to express themselves without interruption. Always maintaining eye contact to convey that their words and experiences are valued.
  • Avoiding Past Judgments: Refraining from letting past incidents or shortcomings cloud our judgment about current situations. Creating a safe space where children feel comfortable sharing their concerns and feelings without fear of criticism or judgment.
  • Addressing Their Concerns: Ensuring that the specific issue or topic the child has come to you for is being addressed by actively engaging with their concerns, and demonstrating support and willingness to listen.
  • Showing Genuine Interest: Encouraging the child to share their thoughts and feelings by asking open-ended questions. Using phrases like “how,” “what,” or “why” to delve deeper into their experiences and perspectives.

Staying Connected– strengthening bonds and well being

In our busy lives, it can be challenging to find quality time together. To overcome this, it’s important to plan and create opportunities for casual connections. While teenagers may not always show enthusiasm, persist in spending time together. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Showing love and appreciation through small gestures, making them feel you are available and providing them a safe space.
  • Schedule brief, positive, and enjoyable day together that suits both you and your child. (At least once in 20-25 days), plan fun family outings, visits to cinemas, restaurants, or parks, creating shared memories. Let the child take the lead in making decisions, such as where to go, what to eat, or which movie to watch.
  • Spending some time each day in shared activities like having at least one meal as a family, creating a relaxed atmosphere for conversation, let everyone share about their day so the children feel more included in their parent’s life as well, talk about work, budgeting and finances, let the children give their suggestions about lifestyle and routine.
  •  Celebrate your child’s accomplishments, big or small, to show your pride and boost their self-esteem.
  • Establish clear family rules with your child’s input, while fostering trust and respect in the parent-child relationship.

Studies in development psychology highlight the significance of family bonding activities promoting children’s emotional well-being, these seemingly simple gestures have a lasting impact on a child’s sense of belonging, self-worth and trust in parents.

As parents, we have the power to shape the future by nurturing the relationships we hold with our children. The time we invest in fostering these connections is an investment in their well-being and their capacity to thrive. So, let us make a conscious effort to stay connected, to listen, to love, and to be present for our children. It is in these moments that we lay the foundation for their future success and happiness. Remember, the greatest gift we can give our children is not material wealth, but our time, our love, and our unwavering support. It’s through staying connected that we build stronger families, brighter futures, and a better world for the generations to come.

Asma Sameen,
Development Coach

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