Home » Articles » How to Help Navigate your Child’s Communication Style

How to Help Navigate your Child’s Communication Style

It can be tricky trying to figure out how to communicate effectively with your child or teen especially since the dawn of social media. More often than not children are more comfortable communicating behind a screen than face to face. It can be challenging and frustrating at times for parents to have meaningful conversations with their children. It is uncertain as to what you’re actually saying is getting through to your child. It seems it goes in one ear and out the other. 

When parents can establish effective communication skills with their children, it is a sign of respect. It can also bolster a child’s self esteem to be heard and understood by their parents. They feel valued when there is effective communication taking place among family members. It’s important for parents to establish open lines of communication with their children and teens. When children feel loved and supported it is easier for them to open up to their parents about serious issues. 

Parents should also keep in mind that each child’s communication style is different. It’s important to understand how your child communicates in order to have meaningful and productive conversations. Age, developmental level and personality factors should be taken into consideration when deciding the best means of communication with your child. When bearing in mind a child’s age be sure to speak to them at a level they can understand which is why it is important to keep in mind the language you are using. Use succinct and simplistic language when speaking with younger children. You can check for understanding to ensure that what was said was understood. You can also restate what your child has shared to let them know you’re listening to them. Your child’s personality will also influence how you can approach them. For example a shy and more reserved child may be reluctant to initiate conversation which may require you to start discussions. A child that is extroverted and outspoken may bring up conversations without hesitation. It’s also important to understand how your child manages conflict which also influences how they communicate effectively. As a result of conflict some children may shut down and need time and space before they can reflect on the situation. Other children may react explosively when managing conflict and require deescalation before being available to problem solve. Some children also find it difficult communicating their needs verbally which is why it’s important to provide your child with other means to express their wants and needs. This can be through written or artistic expression. 

The best way to teach your children effective communication is to model it yourself. Remember you’re also human and you’re going to make mistakes and it’s healthy for your child to bear witness to those mistakes. Use conversation builders to spark meaningful conversations such as “Tell me more about that”, “I understand”, and “Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?”. As long as you leave the lines of communication open your child can feel empowered to freely communicate their needs and desires.