Being a parent can be rewarding but it can definitely be tough once they hit adolescence and adulthood, because by then, they’re probably striving to be independent.
As a daughter of two loving parents, I can confidently say that kids for the most part are not throwing tantrums or being closed off intentionally.
There are things you can do to show your children that they can be open with you and that they are more than welcome to share their lives with you and your spouse freely.
So parents, if you’re having a hard time connecting with your kids or wish that your kid(s) could come to you with anything, here are some ways to welcome them with open arms.
#1. Do your best to not overreact when your child does open up.
Whether you’re over-the-top excited or really critical, overreacting may only drive your child away and give them a reason to not talk to you.
It doesn’t make sense, but most of the time, kids don’t tell their parents everything, whether good or bad, because they know you’ll overreact and they don’t want that.
Try to stay neutral or to ask questions to get more information, instead of jumping for joy or getting angry right away. This will give them the impression that they can safely come to you.
#2. Encourage, don’t criticize.
Children don’t want to let their parents down, and if they know they’re going to receive any kind of criticism or reprimand upon hearing bad news, they will hide it.
I am more likely to be open with my parents if I know that they won’t blame me for the mistakes I made, and if they are encouraging and loving instead.
Not only will this actually help them emotionally and mentally, but it will bring them closer to you and they will be more prone to telling you about their bad days, not just their successes.
#3. Always, no matter what, assume the best of your child.
Your child(ren) may seem like they’re out to make your job harder, but most of the time, they’re not intentionally trying to make your lives miserable.
The thing about kid(s), especially in adolescence is that they’re still trying to figure out who they are, and that includes their emotions and their beliefs, and it’s biological.
It may be hard to always assume the best of your child, but it’s important not only to your relationship with them but in their growth.
What you say and do can have a negative or a positive effect on them as they get older.
#4. Take the time to understand them.
Children, no matter how old they are, want their parents to listen and understand them, instead of having them interrupt and interject while they’re talking.
You don’t have to agree in order to understand them, so do your best to put yourself in their shoes and actively listen instead of telling them what they should have done.
I know you want to give them advice but there’s a time and place for everything. Ask them questions to thoroughly understand them and their situation.
#5. Don’t try too hard.
Persistence is a good thing but it can be bad too. If your child isn’t responding well or responding at all, don’t push it and don’t force anything on them.
Holding onto them tightly so they don’t completely walk away from you is unhealthy and it will drive them away from you faster, which is not what you want.
Reach out to them, try these suggestions and then give them some space to process it and to respond when they’re ready.
They’ll appreciate it and when they do reciprocate, it’ll be genuine and not something done out of obligation, which is more important than the action itself.
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