Maintaining open communication between you and your child increases the likelihood that the child will come to you in times of need.
The American Psychological Association suggests ways to do this:
- Take note of when the child is more open to conversation, for example, when in the car, before dinner or at bedtime.
- Start the conversation, showing that you have an interest in the child’s life.
- Share what you have been thinking about, rather than just asking questions.
- Stop whatever you are doing when the child starts to talk about his or her concerns.
- Don’t be intrusive, and listen to the child’s point of view.
- Always allow your child to finish talking before you respond.
- Respond to your child in a way that doesn’t appear angry or defensive.
- Agree to disagree and express your opinion without putting down the child.
- Focus on your child’s feelings instead of your own during the conversation.
- Ask your child what he or she needs from you.