Consequences of Negative Parent Communications
It's not just what you say – discover 10 potential consequences of how you talk to your child.
What You Need to Know
Open, effective parent-child communication benefits your child by:
- improving your relationship
- teaching how to communicate
- benefiting social skills for a lifetime
- forming positive ideas and beliefs about himself
- feeling respected, heard and understood
- enjoying higher self-esteem
- encouraging higher likelihood of obedience
- increasing likelihood of living up to parental expectations
- feeling unimportant, unheard, or misunderstood
- perceiving parents as unhelpful or untrustworthy
How You Can Help
- Although it can be easier for parents to feel acceptance for their children than it is to actually show it, both verbal and nonverbal demonstrations are important. Noting to yourself that your child picked up her toys without prompting is not as effective as saying aloud, “I really appreciate you picking up your toys without being told.”
- Communicate at your child's verbal and physical level. Children are less likely to feel intimidated when parents are eye to eye. Physically, parents shouldn't tower over their children when communicating, but should maintain eye contact, even if it means sitting or stooping.
- Ask the right questions. Know which will help conversations along versus stopping them dead in their tracks. Open-ended questions, beginning with “what,” “where,” “whom,” or “how” require in-depth responses that get children to open up. Questions that only require a “yes” or “no” don't get the conversation very far. Be careful not to ask so many questions that conversations turn into interrogations that cause your child to clam up.
- Avoid negative communication, including:
- nagging (use a consequence instead—actions speak louder than words)
- dwelling on the past (teaches children to hold long grudges; allow a clean slate once a past conflict has been resolved)
- lying (Children are more perceptive than you think, and sensing that parents are being insincere leads to mistrust; being open and honest will encourage the same in their communications with you.)
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