Communicating with your child is crucial to their language development. That probably won’t be a surprising fact to learn; however, if you're dealing with teens who no doubt have mastered their ability to speak, communcation plays a different role in their development. Effective and healthy communication within a family is a crucial aspect to creating a thriving family unit. Within out own families is where kids learn to have healthy relationships with people outside of their home.
With that in mind, why is it so dang hard sometimes to have a reasonable family discussion? As children turn the corner into their teen years, it can be especially challenging. Defiance, stubborn behavior, and overall struggles for independence are all necessary milestones for every kid as they grow into adulthood. So how can you navigate these intimidating communication challenges to have meaningful conversations that make real connections with your kids?
- Choose a Hot Button Topic - This is less suited for little ones, and more aimed towards older children, such as preteens and teens. Bringing up controversial subjects that are going on in the world can be a fascinating insight into how they view the world they live in. Just make sure everyone keeps a cool head.
- Discuss Something They (And You) Learned Recently - One of my favorite things to do, especially with younger kids, is to have everyone tell you something they learned that day. It could have been at school, but it doesn’t have to be. The best part about this is that it pushes you to learn something to share later.
- Set Family Goals - Ask them what they want to do over the weekend or maybe something big they would like to do over the summer. Make some plans as a family and then do them.
- Conduct a “Family Interview” - This may sound like a goofy idea, but it is surprisingly effective. Once a week, give one member of the family a chance to “interview” another member of the family. They can ask anything they like. It is a great way for everyone to get to know things they didn’t know before about their loved ones.
- Ask About Their Emotional State - You may have no idea what is going on in your child’s mind. Their emotional state can be so delicate and as they get older they may begin to hide it. Take some time to ask them what they have been feeling lately, and why. These could be good or bad emotions. Remain understanding, and don’t offer solutions unless they ask for them.
These are only a few ideas that you can choose from to get your family talking. Make them a regular part of your routine, and you will be amazed at the difference it makes in your home.
Tyler enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn