As children grow older the level of communication they keep with their parents begins to lessen. The average teenager will give a single, monosyllabic reply to most questions when asked. There are various reasons for this, including the always popular excuse that they are teenagers, and this just how things happen.
A lot of parents don’t want to accept this development. Unfortunately those same parents don’t understand that one of the simplest ways to engage their kids is to ask questions that require more than just a “yes” or a “no”. Asking the questions that make them think is a sure way to open them up and learn more about what’s going on in their life. Below are three tips for communicating with kids more effectively.
1) Show genuine interest.
You can ask the right questions, but if you don’t show that you’re really interested then kids will hesitate to tell you anything. Just because you’re asking for more input doesn’t mean your interest in the conversation should end there. If you really want your kid to talk to you then show them you are interested, otherwise the point of asking is lost.
2) Ask open-ended questions.
When you’re looking for a longer, more in-depth conversation with your kid learn to ask different questions. Instead of asking “How was your day?”, ask “What did you do today?”. There is always the chance of a simple answer with both questions, but at least the second question offers room for your kid to expand on the answer. Another example would be “Can you tell me what you did today?”, instead of “Did you do anything today?”. The more information you ask for with questions, the better communication you will have with your child.
3) Practice effective communication.
Asking open-ended questions can promote clearer and more effective communication between family members. The more you share with one another the closer you become. There will always be a certain, necessary distance between parent and child, but a healthy level of communication can promote a strong, binding relationship.
— By Britney Jordano