Keeping Kids Healthy Advice
Good communication is important in any relationship, but building a communicative relationship with your child can help him or her develop a healthy personality, as well as good relationships with you and others.
Healthy communication helps your child:
Know that you care and love him or her
Realize and believe that he or she is important to you
Learn to tell you directly what he or she feels and/or needs
Learn to manage his or her feelings safely
You can build good communication with your child by:
Letting your child know that you are interested in what he or she has to say.
Paying attention by listening carefully and not interrupting when he or she speaks to you and turning off the television when he or she wants to talk to you
Holding important conversations in private, away from other family members or visitors.
Being specific in the behaviors that you expect of him or her.
Not standing over your child when talking to him or her. Get down to his or her level so that you don’t appear intimidating.
Not responding to “why” with “because I said so” or other adult-sounding answers. Give your child a reason. You, of course, are the adult and should have the final say about important decisions, but explain why you made those decisions to your child so that he or she understands.
Taking time to make decisions rather than automatically saying no. This will let your child know that you care about what he or she cares about and are at least considering what he or she is asking. If you decide that the answer is “no” explain why.
Not using words such as dumb, stupid, or other “put-down” words.
Helping your child develop a plan to reach a solution, even if this involves punishment.
Rewarding your child when he or she does well by praising him or her.
Being a good role model.
While open communication with your child is important, you should also make sure that he or she knows that you are the one in charge. Children feel more secure when they know that the adults in their life are in control. Children who feel that they are not treated fairly by adults may become mistrustful of authority and are more likely to develop unhealthy behaviors.
Remember to show that you accept your child as he or she is, whether or not he or she has done something that has upset you.