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How to Talk to your Child

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 8 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Kids Talking Listen Communication

Children can cause even the calmest of people to lose their patience every now and then but as parents and adults there are ways we can avoid becoming so frustrated or annoyed and learn how communication techniques can help to diffuse anger in both the child and the adult.

Why do we Get Angry at Children?

There are so many reasons why adults get cross with kids and the most common ones include when the child misbehaves, when we are short of time, when we are tired, because of communication barriers and because children do not have any comprehension on the pressures of adult life. How we feel this anger and more importantly how we keep it under control can significantly affect how the child views us, respects us and develops themselves.

Effective Communication Techniques for Adults and Children

The most important aspect of communicating well with children is to make sure you listen properly. Parents especially are notoriously bad for thinking they are listening to their child properly when in fact they often miss the main subject or theme of the conversation because they are not listening properly. Make sure when you are talking to your child you are on the same level as them both physically and mentally. Kneel down if you have to or find a nearby chair. This way you can maintain eye contact and observe non-verbal body language whilst they are talking. Allow them to finish each sentence and don’t be tempted to assume or finish the end of their sentence for them; we all find this annoying, including children.

Children’s brains are like sponges and they will take on board anything you are saying and ponder over it so make sure your answers are honest and full educating the child with new but not complicated terminology or vocabulary.

Communicating With Angry Kids

When a child is angry and having an outburst the first thing to do is to make sure they and others around them are safe. Sometimes it is best just to let the child get on with it and don’t pay them any attention as this is often why they are having the outburst. When they have finished, tell them it is unacceptable and you will not allow it to happen in your company.

When they have calmed down try and find out what the problem was by asking a few questions but do not make too big an issue of it. If the child continues to get agitated, walk away telling them that you will only help them sort out the problem when they are calm, and that angry outbursts will not achieve anything.

It is vital that you lead by example so raising your voice, shouting and hollering may only serve to fuel the child’s temper and will not usually be effective at all. It is acceptable to speak sternly but if the point you are trying to make is that the child needs to learn other ways to deal with a problem other than shouting and screaming you mustn’t do this either.Tell the child you are interested in their views and feelings but will only listen when they feel mature or grown-up enough to discuss through talking not shouting about it.

If these actions are repeated every time they have an outburst, they should over time, understand that they will get nowhere with their tantrum and that they will only be listened to when they can discuss it more quietly.

Children get frustrated and cross very easily for many reasons and not being listened to is one of them. As adults we too can lose our tempers very quickly when kids are being loud or naughty so we must learn together how to communicate more effectively and lead by example.

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