(English translation available after the Chinese article)
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This is a story heard from another parent:
A father and son joined a paid event but upon arrival at the destination, the child continuously played on his phone. When the host announced that the event was about to start, the father said to the child:
“The event is about to start, put away your phone and come out to play.”
The son replied in a rude way,
“I am not interested in joining this event, I just want to play games online.”
The father was very disappointed and so he yelled at his son, “You’re a useless boy, so stupid. I paid for the event so if you don’t join then it’s a waste of my money!”
When you hear this story, how do you feel? It’s understandable that the father is disappointed as when he registered for the event, he had hoped that his son would join in the event and share in the parent child bonding. So, it is normal for the father to be disappointed. But is his method correct in handling the situation?
Without understanding the reason why his son didn’t agree to join the event, the father went and yelled at him. Did the father ever think about why his son would “rebel”? Or maybe his son was not feeling well? Or maybe he needed more time to adjust to a new environment? Or maybe he was why and did not want to join the event alone? The father should patiently try to communicate with his son instead of yelling at him. First, the child would not give in easily. Second, yelling at his son will affect him psychologically and would also affect the parent-child relationship.
The topic of parent-child communication is deeply intricate and complex. Let us explore some parent-child communication methods.
1. Look at the situation from the child’s point of view
A parent’s point of view of a situation is different from a child’s point of view. Things that we just assume are the way it is might not be the way a child sees it.
Just like the child in the above story, if he does not like this type of event then he would not play. He would not follow the father’s thinking that it would be a waste of money not to play after paying.
In order to have a good communication with our child, we must first look at the situation from their point of view. Try to understand their way of thinking and in turn, this could help us to be rational and more patient to improve our communication with the child.
2. Never humiliate the child
In the story, the father said some humiliating words like calling him useless and stupid. Over time, this will lower a child’s self-worth.
When a child does something wrong, we should focus on the child’s behavior. We should use encouraging attitude to change the child’s unacceptable behavior and not to humiliate the child instead.
3. Accept the child
As parents, we should let our children know that no matter what, we will accept them and love them, instead of forcing them to only live up to the parent’s expectation.
Once a child receives the parent’s acceptance, they will feel a sense of security and be willing to open up and communicate their feelings and thinking to others.
While accepting the child, it does not mean you accept their bad behaviors as well. We should instead guide the child patiently and help him to grow.
4. Speak more positively
We would often hear parents chastise their child with phrases like,
“Don’t speak so loud”
“Don’t stand in front of the television to watch”
Parents might think that these instructions are very clear but to a child, they will only know not to do these things but not what they should be doing instead.
The instructions from the parents should be positive as this will let the child know how to behave correctly. Adults often say, “Do not…” or “Can not ..” which may reinforce bad behavior or even worsen their behaviors.
The above “Do not” can be changed as follows:
“Do not run” to “Walk slowly”, “Do not speak loudly” to “Speak softly”, “Do not stand in front of the television to watch” to “Sit on the sofa to watch television”
5. Understand the child’s emotion and feeling
When a child cries, how would you deal with it? Are you saying to him, “Don’t cry” “We do not need to cry over such a simple thing”?
We always misunderstand that negative emotions or feelings are a bad thing. When a child’s expresses negative emotion such as sadness, disappointment, discouragement, and anger, the first thing we do is to try to manage these emotions by telling the child not feel sad, or disappointed, or discouraged, or angry.
But have you thought that telling a child to manage these negative emotions will make them believe that their feelings are not accepted and then (going forward) they would not know how to deal with these negative emotions?
When a child is sad or disappointed, hug him and pat him and tell him, “Dad (mom) knows you lost your favorite toy and you’re not feeling happy!” Let the child know that the parents understand their feelings and the child can accept themselves.
They will learn to share their emotions with their parents. They will also learn to accept other people’s feelings in the future and thus will be able to establish trusting relationships.
A good communication between parent and child will be the basis to establish a good relationship.
All the contents published in this article are personal opinions and do not represent the opinions and views of Little Monkey Hong Kong.
About the Author
Scarlett is a working mom with a 4-year-old son, who knows the challenges encountered by working parents. She would like to share some thoughts on parenthood that may serve as support and encouragement for moms and dads.
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