Six ways to be someone your child will want to confide in

When children are younger, their mum and dad are the centre of their world. But as they grow, their social circle expands to include extended family, friends, and even teachers and coaches.

And as they form strong bonds to a network of people, they naturally share news, thoughts, opinions, and concerns with people beyond their parents.

While that’s a natural and healthy part of child development, it’s also important for parents to maintain a strong bond with their child during the early school years.

Maintaining good parent-child communication is especially important in these years because children become less talkative and are less likely to confide in parents as they reach middle-school age and beyond.

Here are six ways you can be someone your child will want to talk to and confide in now and as they get older.

1) Really listen

This means that when your child is talking to you, you shouldn’t half-listen. or be distracted and check messages on your phone (which studies have shown is a problem more and more children are seeing in their parents) or reading a newspaper.

Give your child the full attention they deserve – and show them how you want to be treated when you want to say something to them.

2) Don’t interrupt or talk over your child

Allow your child to finish their thoughts before jumping in. And while young children may need your help as they search for the words to explain what they’re thinking or feeling, it’s important for parents to try to give them extra time to sort out what they want to say.

Not only will you give them time to come out with what they actually want to say, rather than pre-empting them or putting words in their mouth, but you effectively tell them, “What you say is important to me, and I am willing to wait to hear it.”

3) Try not to lecture or judge

As parents we’re supposed to help our children see what might be a mistake or teach them to see what might not be good for them or even dangerous.

And while it may be tempting to give your child a lecture or tell they that they’re wrong, the simple fact is that children, like adults, are more likely to listen if they feel that their opinion is respected and they’re not being criticised.

So try to tell they what’s good and bad about their choices, and explain why you think something else might be a better option – but try to refrain from lecturing and saying “I told you so”, as tempting as it may be!

4) Do something together

Children are more likely to share thoughts and feelings while they’re engaged in another activity, like making crafts or kicking around a soccer ball, or just sharing a snack on the sofa.

So get them into the habit of talking to you about their day and what’s going on in their lives, and set the pattern for regular conversations about everything with your child.

5) Share your own story or confide in them

Your child will be more likely to share things with you if they feel like you value their opinion and thoughts on what’s going on in your life.

So talk to them about a problem you have, and how you’re thinking about handling it. It could be a work issue or something that’s going on with a friend of yours.

Try to find examples and stories that will allow your child to give their thoughts so that they can feel like they’re helpful to you and that their opinion matters.

6) Let your child know they can confide in a trusted relative or friend

And last but not least, tell your child that you love them very much and always want to have open communication. But if there ever comes a time when they feel like they cannot talk to you about a certain problem or subject, they should pick a trusted relative or family friend that you both agree upon to talk to.

This lets your child know that their welfare is the most important thing to you, and that as much as you want to be the one they come to, you always want them to be able to go to someone with a problem or concern.

John M. Caviness is a copywriter at write my essay for me.

Photo by Gabe Pierce