Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
When it comes to successful communication with your child, tailoring a specific plan of action can help, especially when dealing with difficult or sensitive issues. Here are a few strategies to consider:
Schedule your child into your day.
I know this may sound a little odd, but I meet plenty of busy parents who literally plan “meetings” with their kids. These parents may not actually schedule them into their iPhones. But, they do master the art of taking advantage of communication opportunities (even if they are brief) such as at breakfast, a cup of coffee together, during the ride home after school, when their teens come through the door after practice or work, or right before bedtime.
It may take a little experimentation and persistence, but work to find those moments in each day when your child is most apt to talk. Get these times on your daily calendar and live by them. They could be the most valuable minutes of your day—and theirs!
Start with talking about little things.
Ten minutes of daily small talk can go far when building a broader level of trust with your child. What interests your son or daughter? Sports? Music? Friends? Hobbies? Start there. As he or she sees that you are interested in the little things in his or her life, your child will hopefully begin to trust you more when it comes to the bigger issues.
Choose a relaxed environment.
When you’ve got something important to discus with your son or daughter, a successful talk can often depend upon a relaxed environment. One mom told me that her son loves music. A great way to get him talking about his day, his dating life, and more is to turn on the music he likes.
Be prepared for anything.
I have had numerous conversations with students, especially teens, who have shared with me things I would never have imagined would come out of their mouths. And so, when you make yourself available and your child begins to see you as one with whom he or she can place trust, you might be surprised at how much this precious child of yours may begin to share. So get ready!
If your teen doesn’t automatically share, maybe the right place to begin is by asking him or her some questions. Open-ended questions (ones your teen can’t answer simply with “yes,” “no,” or “maybe”) are the place to start. For example, if your teen comes home angry or upset over something that happened at school, instead of asking “Do you want to talk about it?” focus on questions that lead to a broader response, such as “What happened today that made you feel this way?”
The most important part of communication is not talking. It is listening. I regularly hear from teens who say that Mom and Dad seldom “listen to what I am really trying to say.” I realize some teens use this as an excuse when trying to win a skirmish with Mom and Dad. But sending a clear message to your teen that you are listening, even when you may not agree with the message he or she is sending, could greatly benefit the outcome of the conversation and your relationship.
* What do you find most challenging with these 6 strategies?
* Talk with God about this right now. Let Him know your concerns. Share with Him your biggest dreams for your son or daughter and trust that He is in control.