How to Get Your Kids to Talk With You

Conversation resizedAre you tired of getting one word answers from your kids? Are you wondering how to get your kid to finally open up and talk with you? The solution might be one that Kenneth Barish, Ph.D., wrote about for Huffington Post. Give his ideas a try, and see what happens!

Frustrated parents should take a minute to read over what Kenneth Barish, Ph.D., wrote in an article titled: “Why Won’t She Talk to Us? How to Have Better Conversations With Your Children”. In it, he explains some of the reasons why kids become uncommunicative with their parents. In short, there are emotions at play that your child may be trying to avoid feeling.

He has some helpful suggestions for parents to try. For example, a parent can express an enthusiastic interest in the things his or her child finds interesting. Kids will naturally want to have conversations about their favorite thing in the whole wide world. That conversation might lead to other topics (like how the child’s day at school really was).

Acknowledging your child’s frustrations (as well as their disappointments or grievances) goes a long way. A parent could start a conversion with their child by saying “I know you were really frustrated when…” Phrasing things this way helps teach your child how to talk about his or her feelings. It also helps the child learn that disappointments and frustrations are a part of life and that hurt feelings do not last forever.

In a second article, titled: “How to Have Better Conversations With Your Children, Part 2”, Kenneth Barish, Ph.D., emphasizes the important of sharing personal stories with your child. It provides a great way for parents to connect with their children. Sharing these kinds of stories can help a child to converse about something that is bothering him or her. It gives the parent the opportunity to provide emotional support to their child.

He also points out that one of the reasons why kids clam up is because they are afraid of having their parent respond in a judgmental or critical way. To avoid that possibility, they refuse to talk at all. Or, they give their parent one word answers. “How was school?” “Fine.”

Where would your child get the idea that you would be judgmental towards them? Maybe you made a judgmental comment about another parent’s choices. Or, you could have been watching TV and making the type of remarks that suggest that the ideas of the politician on the screen were “stupid”. That may be all it takes for some children to become fearful that their parent will say mean things about the ideas they try and share.

Image by verlaciudad on Flickr.

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