On Fathers and Communication
We all enjoy feeling loved. Children learn to share this with others as love is communicated to them. Making eye contact, laughing together, telling a story, asking a question, learning to listen — these are all part of communication with children. What do the facts say about fathers and communication with kids?
Here are some key findings:
Communication between fathers and mothers, whether married or not, has a big influence on children’s well-being. If there is conflict and anger communicated often between a father and mother, children tend to perform less well in school, have more social problems, and feel less positively about themselves. Also, fathers feel much less motivated to stay involved and communicate with their children when there is conflict with the mother.
Research shows that fathers tend to communicate most with young children in times of shared activities. During such times, fathers will play, talk, ask questions, and communicate more than at other times.
- One aspect of communication that fathers and children enjoy in their relationship more than with mothers is humor. Fathers tend to inject fun and gently tease their young children. This helps children learn social interaction.
- Research also shows that the most effective communication style for fathers to use with their children, when handling discipline, is to use a combination of love, reason and firm guidelines. Children who receive this type of communication tend to do much better than those whose fathers communicate with anger and threats or act too permissive and provide little direction.
Fathers tend to share and tell stories with their children more often than mothers. Telling personal stories is an important way that many fathers communicate with young children. A regular “story sharing” time can be a meaningful way to communicate and connect with young children.
Do You Listen to Your Children? – A Checklist For Parents
We are constantly telling our children to “Listen!” But how well do we each listen to our children?
For each statement, rate yourself “most of the time,” “sometimes,” or “seldom.”
|Listening Questions||Most of the Time||Sometimes||Seldom|
|1. Do I give my children the impression that i'm interested and willing to hear what they have to say?|
|2. Do I put my work aside when listening to my children?|
|3. Do I look at my children why they talk to me?|
|4. Does my body language show that I'm paying attention?|
|5. Do my responses show that I've been listening carefully?|
|6. Do I give all my children equal attention when they're talking to me?|
|7. Do I avoid interrupting my children?|
|8. Do I listen for feelings without jumping in to offer advice?|
|9. Do I listen even when I don't like what I'm hearing?|
|10. Do I repeat or rephrase what my child has said to see if I've interpreted correctly?|
Ten “Most of the Time” answers indicate you listen well. “Sometimes” and “Seldom” answers may indicate some areas for improvement. Post the list where you are most likely to see it so you can work on “sometimes” and especially “seldom” spots in your communication.
Reprinted with the permission of North Dakota State University.
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