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Golden rules of good communication

Good communication means don't be judgemental

A healthy relationship with your child is open, not judgemental. It involves more than just telling your child what you want him or her to know. Here are some tips on good communication that will help you to achieve that.

Pay attention
Whenever you want to have a fruitful conversation with your child, it's best to switch off the TV, put away your smart phone, and look at your child. lt shows he/she is important to you and that you are willing to give him/her the time to discuss and ask questions.

Listening is not the same as hearing
Many people can hear, but not everyone listens well. Listening means keeping eye contact, not talking when your child is talking, letting him/her finish and not interrupting when you think he/she has said something silly or embarrassing.

Ask instead of telling
lnstead of telling (or worse, preaching to) your child how things should be, ask questions that will help you to understand him/her better. Ask open-ended questions to allow your child to explain his/her thoughts, feelings and wishes. Some examples:

“How do you feel about this?”
“What do you think might be the consequences?”

When you do talk about your own wishes, make sure you explain why you feel that way instead of just saying: “I don't want you to play computer games. Go and do your assessment!”

Don't be judgemental
When you belittle or criticise, you will lose your audience, sometimes never to get it back again. Same goes when you are dealing with your child. Avoid dragging out a long list of past mistakes. Treat your child as an honest, intelligent and loving person and he/she is more likely to do things to keep your respect.

Don't give up
If you face a setback, find a person who can help out, preferably someone your child trusts, and don't interfere. Be prepared to also adjust your views and expectations. The world you grew up in was a very different place from the one your child is in now. The pressures he/she faces are tremendous and he/she may be finding it hard to cope.

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