Remember, children want to know what is happening around them. Older children often want to better understand why we feel that they should think the same way that we do. Shutting them out or giving the answer “because I said so” is not communicating. When setting rules and boundaries, explain to them why this is necessary and what consequences there will be if they break the rules.
Young children need only a fairly simple explanation due to their limited understanding but nevertheless they and you will benefit from helping them to understand rules and consequences. Using an explanation to the child something like “I am so happy when you do what I ask” is far more effective than “because I said so”. This is because a child is always striving to make their parents proud of them.
As children become older and enter their adolescent and teenage years, they want more of an explanation. They will also often challenge your explanations and this can be a time of heated arguments. Try to remain calm and simply reiterate your reasons and the consequences of going against your rules. Respond rather than react. By responding we are allowing our youngsters to have a voice and be heard. We hear their emotions rather than reacting with our own experiences and emotions.
The worst thing we can do as parents is to invalidate the emotions and feelings of our children. This makes them feel insecure and unable to talk to their parents without repercussions. It also blocks the line of communication that may lead to problems in later years. If a child is in trouble and can’t communicate with his/her parents, the consequences can be devastating.
If a child comes to you wanting explanations of why you have set particular rules or consequences, acknowledge the importance of the child’s feelings. Allow him/her to be upset or angry or frustrated. Talk to him/her about a potential solution to the problem so that he/she knows his thoughts and opinions are worthy and validated.
Everyone has feelings and opinions and sometimes things happen that we don’t particularly like. Often, we will talk to our spouse, partner, or a good friend about it. Often, this communication of the problem helps to understand the reasoning and work out possible solutions.
This is also the case with our children. Instead of a partner, they need their parents to listen to the problem and communicate openly with them about it. By showing active listening skills, it shows that we care and will help them to understand what is going on.
Don’t despair when your child challenges your thinking. See this as a positive as it shows your child is able to think individually. They are trying to understand their world and where they fit into that world. Try to consider the difficulties of that rather than becoming frustrated and angry. The effort you put into your communication skills with your children will turn them into self-assured young adults who are not afraid to achieve.
Anne has worked primarily within health and welfare for around 35 years. She has always loved to write and has a wide range of interests. She is the owner of http://www.ozehealthbiz.com and http://www.ourkidzbiz.com.