How Important is it to Communicate with our Children Openly?
The short answer is that open communication with kids is obviously very important, but you already knew that! We hope this article helps you further.
The short answer is that open communication with kids is obviously very important.
We can end the article here but we rather share some more information with you.
Parenting is not easy.
Don’t believe anyone who makes it sound like a breeze!
Ok once in a while there is an odd case of an exceptional kid that does everything right but most of the time parents need plans and mechanisms to make it through the day.
One of the most important tools is communication.
Open communication between you and your children has a tremendous positive role to help and foster a positive and stable mind.
A recent article written and published by Dr. Peter Szatmari, chief of the Child and Youth Mental Health Collaborative at SickKids, CAMH and the University of Toronto, also covered several ways to effectively communicate with children and have ongoing engaging conversations.
Here at MyBook Heroes we are dedicating this whole month to communication, and as such we will publish various articles where we suggest different fun methods we tried and saw positive results!
However before covering more about the importance of this subject, we need to have the right foundations. Dr. Szatmari first and foremost stated that we as parents have to do mental inventory and make sure to take care of our own mental health. As we all know by now, leading by example is more effective than any other method.
We need to have a stable and nurturing environment, in which children feel safe to express their thoughts and questions.
An extremely important part of our bringing is the feeling of belonging. If we as parents allow our children to feel that they belong, it will encourage them to develop these important communication skills.
We need to keep the lines of communication open, which means that we need to take the initiative to have these fruitful conversations with our kids on a daily, if possible, basis.
These conversations are not an interrogation from parent to child but a two way street. Your children love hearing about you, and your life as a child, your experiences, your lessons and dreams. So go ahead and share!
If this is something new for your family, you will likely be dismissed the first few times, but you have to insist on engaging them. You can take a look at the fun communication games we will post later this month for some creative communication ideas!
Communication is not all about the easy stuff though. It is even more important for times of crisis or turmoil.
How can we effectively continue to keep these lines open?
Several scientific studies have emphasized the importance of open communication during hard times as an effective way to reduce any possible future mental problems.
In 2004 there was a study done in Netherlands on children ages 4 to 18, which reported that mental health issues are most common in families that have poor communication skills. Children in families that did not openly communicate showed signs of mild to severe anxiety, depression and increased social hostility.
On the other side of the spectrum studies reported that children in healthy open communication relationships showed that they are more competent, socially accepted, responsive, confident and independent.
And more importantly, which is also our mission here at MyBook Heroes, these children did have a high self-respect and self-esteem.
According to published literature we see that communication is therefore the key to effective positive parenting.
Closing this article, we would like to mention that in small sample studies done on children who experience parental divorce (Spomer, 2003) showed than any negative impact such an event had on them was not due to the divorce itself but lack of communication with the parents.
Theretofore, we see here that it is not so much the circumstances that we are in that define how well we can parent but the time we dedicate in communicating effectively with children.
No yelling, not screaming, threatening or guilt tripping! We need to listen, ask and try to make sense of what their little brains are thinking.
Oh we know it is hard! But it is the key to give them a happy future!
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