Communicating with children (and vice versa) can be extra tricky at times for many parents no matter how much they love each other. If you struggle in this area and are looking for parenting tips, we’ve got you!
This article will look at the answer to the following questions:
- What are the key reasons behind communication issues?
- What can you do to improve your communication?
But before we answer these questions, let’s look at the five languages of love and see where you and your kids fall.
The Five Love Languages
Dr. Gary Chapman first introduced the concept of a child’s primary love language in his book, The 5 Love Languages of Children. It aims to help the parents communicate love towards their kids by “filling their love tank” with their preferred love language.
Some kids crave physical touch, and it’s the easiest way to express love. When a child’s love language includes physical touch, they most often express love by giving you a hug, kiss, or snuggle.
You can include physical touch in your everyday life by regularly making physical contact with your kids. You can do different activities such as playing contact sports, child sitting on your lap while watching movies, stroking your child’s hair, or even kissing and hugging them before going to sleep.
Words of Affirmation
If your kid’s primary love language is words of affirmation, their faces most likely light up when they hear affirmation words or compliments from you.
Strengthen your parent-child relationship by filling your child’s love bucket with encouraging words. You can include small notes on your child’s lunchbox or allow them to hear you say positive things about them. And sometimes, a simple “I love you” is enough for them.
Such words of affirmation go a long way when they age, and as Dr. Gary Chapman says, “A child reaps the benefits of affirming words for a lifetime.”
Acts of Service
If you notice that your child’s behavior often includes taking the initiative to always help out, like taking the trash out, volunteering to clean the yard, or making you a cup of coffee, then your child’s love language is acts of service.
Allow your kids to communicate love by receiving these acts of service. These may seem like silly things but don’t feel awkward receiving service from your kids. Besides, you’re allowing them to build their sense of responsibility as one of their personality traits.
On the other hand, some children’s love language is receiving meaningful gifts. If this is your child’s love language, you might notice that they might have trouble throwing old gifts, and they also love the idea of giving gifts to others.
You can teach kids the value of generosity, gratefulness, and contentment with this love language by explaining the importance of the gift-giving itself and not just the actual gift.
Spending quality time with your kids is easy to incorporate into your parenting style. Practice spending one-on-one time with your children and giving them undivided attention.
As children age, quality time might lessen, but if your child speaks this love language, they prefer quality time with you instead of spending time with their friends.
The language of love in parenting
Expressing love languages isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to raising kids. If you’re not aware of your child’s primary love language, you can play detective and observe their behavior.
If you have older kids, you can ask them to try this quiz with you.
Different kids can receive and express love in a different language from your own love language. But what’s great about these love languages is you can do all of them to show unconditional love towards your family.
Expressing these five love languages strengthens your bond and improves the way you communicate.
Communication within the family–then and now
Back in the day, children had a lot of time to spend with their mothers at home or their fathers at work. They had plenty of time to talk and be together.
As a result, it was easier for parents to get to know the needs, personalities, and wants of their children. Children also had the time to get to know their parents and other family members as well.
But that is not the case these days. Children go to preschool early, and many parents have jobs outside the home. Even when parents and children have time together, they are usually busy browsing their social media profiles, playing games, or working on their computers.
These days, it definitely has become a real challenge to spend quality time with your children, considering all the things you have lined up every day within the home and outside.
As a parent, what can you do to spend time with your family? Some families have agreed to spend quality time having meals together at least once a day. Others have decided to lessen the time spent on gadgets or social media.
Whatever you decide to do, what matters is that you find time to have quality conversations with your kids every day. Before their day starts, say some encouraging and affirming words to them throughout the day to make them feel loved.
Improving the quality of your communication
Can you make changes in your life to allow you to spend more time with your child? Some parents have decided to work from home so that they can be there for their families.
You might earn less, but the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices. After all, good communication starts with you.
Whatever you may decide to do for the sake of improving the quality of how you communicate, it is important to remember this truth: For all members of the family to communicate well, they must all learn how to listen carefully to one another.
As parents, we can set a good example for our children on how to be good listeners. This may be difficult to do, especially if we are tired and the last thing we want to do that day is listen to a lengthy, childish tale. Or if we feel as though what our kid is saying is not that important.
It is important, however, for you to keep in mind that what is important to you is different from what is important for your kids. So take the time to pay attention to what your child says as well as to how they say it. Make eye contact as they speak.
Your child’s tone of voice, gestures, and facial expressions can tell you much about their feelings. Ask questions to show that you are interested in what they are saying. This is a way to find out how they really feel.
Once they can see that you are willing to listen and understand how they feel no matter what they want to talk to you about, they will feel comfortable talking to you. And, they’ll be more open to listening to you.
But what if you find it a challenge to get your children to listen to you? Here are some tips that can help you out.
Tip # 1: Practice being soft-spoken
Trust us on this. You don’t need to yell, threaten, or keep nagging your child to get them to listen. Although it is highly unlikely for your child to follow a single spoken command, they can be trained how to follow through. Pay attention to the way you speak and not just what you say.
Make sure that your child knows that you expect them to listen and obey and follow through.
And no matter what, resist the urge to repeat yourself. Do not issue the request a second or a third time. It’s just like telling the child that he can wait until the third request to comply.
Remember that your goal here is to make sure your child understands that he does not need more than one request to follow through.
Tip # 2: Expect your child to cheerfully and promptly grant your request
Do not allow your child to delay obedience. When you issue a request, and your child does it at their own time and terms, this is still disobedience.
How do you train your child to obey promptly?
Train your child to acknowledge your request by saying:
- Yes, mom.
- I’m coming.
We’re not training them to be robots. But we do want them to understand the concept of respecting authority and being prompted into action.
Tip # 3: Be reasonable with your requests
If you’re not sure whether your child can handle what you’re going to ask from them, don’t make the request. You don’t have to make listening to you feel like a burden.
Train your child to understand that whatever request you’re making is doable. They do not need to look for an excuse to delay or pass it to others.
Tip # 4: Use games to teach obedience.
Kids love games, and you can use this to your advantage!
Use playfulness as the number one tool in disciplining your child until they can better manage themselves. This requires consistency on your part as a parent, but you can also make it fun too.
Not sure what games you can actually play for this? Here are two on our list:
No, I love you way more
In this game, parents will pretend to fight over their child and give more kisses and cuddles by pulling the child closer and competing about who loves the child the most.
Make the shoes talk or make any random object talk
Use a talking shoe (or any random stuff) to issue your request.
Remember that playfulness is the key to cooperation while your child is still developing their ability to manage themselves. They’ll also feel that you’re asking them to do things, not because you enjoy bossing them around, but because it’s part of their training.
Tip # 5: Explain the benefits of being obedient
Kids are naturally curious beings. And being the curious little humans they are, they’re bound to ask you why you’re asking them to do things. That’s normal.
Being obedient allows your child to have more freedom and independence in the future. This is because of the fact that you can allow more freedom for your child if you are sure and you trust that they will follow you even if you are not there.
A Final Note
Forming a habit does not come overnight, so please try not to be discouraged if the way you communicate does not change for the better straight away. Have the patience to keep working at it and forgiving mistakes and imperfections. Learn to say, “I’m sorry.”
Do all things with love. Love can help us stay calm and be forgiving, and this will help the interaction in your family become better and better.
Focus on one thing you want to improve. Try it again and again. You will need to devote time and energy to improving the habits of your family.
Teaching obedience, for example, requires consistency and clear-cut rules. It also involves being your own example in obeying rules. Make sure that they understand breaking rules have consequences.
Both parents must agree on this, and both must enforce it to retain the respect of the child. In the end, it benefits the whole family if each member works together towards a particular goal.
If your child learns obedience at an early age, it will keep them from making bad decisions when they get older.
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