Talking to Your child
We know that it is important to take the time to talk to each other in life. Lots of people, including children and young people find it hard to talk about what is bothering them. Here are a few things to consider that might help when talking to your child….
Pick a good time
Life is busy, but sometimes some really good talking time doesn’t always have to take a long time. You can set aside some time when you are both free or you may take advantage of a quiet moment if it feels right. It’s important that you are unlikely to get interrupted and you may not wish to do it straight before you or your child goes to bed.
Pick a good place
The best place to talk will vary for different people. You may want to go somewhere especially quiet, a walk for example. Or you may want to talk whilst doing an activity such as playing a computer game with your child, or straightening their hair for them.
Talking is communicating and communication may be done in different ways. Lots of parents and carers have success in discussing things with their child through drawing and craft and social media or messaging.
Learn about listening
Sometimes children and young people just want an ear. Listen really careful to what your child is saying to you. Are they asking for advice and guidance or do they just want you to understand and listen to them. It is important to meet them at the right level. Checking your phone during your time together is a no no!
Empower your child
Sometimes there can be an urge to jump in and make everything better for your child when they open up to you. This is because you care so much and you do not want to see them hurt or upset. Sometimes however, it is important to resist this urge
Don’t take it personally
If your child does not want to talk to you for whatever reason, it is important that you react in a calm way about this, no matter how frustrated or upset you feel inside. It is a great idea to always let your child know that if and when they are ready, they can let you know and you will be ready to talk to them. The most important thing is that they talk to someone, you could support that they talk to a family member, friend, teacher or therapist.
Keep it simple
The chances are that if something is bothering your child, then their feelings are already a bit confused. Try not to over-complicate things when you talk. Ask them to explain things to you in a way that helps you understand, showing an interest in this way and asking them to construct their thoughts, feelings and behaviours in a
Make it a habit
If talking to your child does not happen as much as you’d like then try to establish a new habit. You can talk about good and general things with them as well as the distressing or confusing stuff. General open questions such as “How was your day?”, “How did you sleep last night?” and “How are you feeling today?” can let young people know that you care and that you are interested…. They can then make their answers as long or as short as they’d like.
There are some really helpful resources available online: