The dictionary defines communication as a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior. In your family, simply put, it’s the way you get your message(s) across to your kids.
Communication with them comes in four forms:
1. Verbal – One-on-one or otherwise – Talking, growling, hollering, threats and warnings or general conversation. You may also have group conversation at mealtimes, scheduled meetings or during travel (on the road in the car).
2. Body Language – Facial expressions, eye contact (or not), tapping foot, arms crossed, glaring, smiling, nods of approval or disapproval.
3. Written – A note on the table, email or text or (not too common anymore) a formal letter.
4. Other subtle (or not so subtle) ways – Block Internet use, hide the keys, slam the door, stomp feet.
How do you communicate with your kids? The fact is, much of what parents communicate is UN-intentional so you should be aware of how you may come across to them and plan some communication with them on a regular basis.
What do I mean by “plan some?” If you don’t already, plan to have family meals with conversation at the table at least a few times per week and a (separate) family meeting every week.
With your youngsters, when you tuck them in to be at night, ask them about their day and encourage them to talk about it. In our house, we do one-on-one positive comments (PC’s for short) every night with the kids – between about 3 and 12 years old.
The point is, by making some of your communication intentional, and positive, you will raise happier, grateful and more successful kids.