By Goodnews Buekor
“Are you silly Jane? There is nothing you do that doesn’t go wrong.
Who exactly did you take after? You are not like your father, nor like me. I wonder how I gave birth to a dullard like you.
“I am truly sorry mom, I didn’t mean for it to happen this way” Jane responded amidst tears.
“Sorry for your miserable self.”
“How can a 12-year-old be so daft? The next time you make such a silly mistake, I will spank the hell out of you.”
I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Jane, as she narrated what transpired between her and her mom last night.
I could see her trembling in fear as she talked to me.
“Mummy will never give me a listening ear. Even when I make a mistake (I mean who doesn’t), I would appreciate it if she talks to me like a human too.”
“I wish I carried the money along to the assembly ground. I wish I was more careful. More than the money I lost; I can’t bear the sting of mom’s words. We never have a peaceful conversation without ending in a fight.
“Miss Patricia, I feel worthless”, she said and cried uncontrollably.
Scenarios like this are common in most home with teenagers.
Communication is a vital aspect of life as it is one way to share thoughts and ideas, we learn and also build formidable relationships via communication.
The girl child is very delicate and tender. So, whilst growing up, the place of effective and open communication between children and their parents cannot be overemphasized, as their self-esteem, personality, perspectives, and approach to life are built based on what they have heard over time.
Therefore, it is vital for parents, guardians, and caregivers inclusive to be able to communicate effectively with their wards/ children using the right words and tone, as this can go a long way to strengthen and improve their relationship.
Even when they err, an open and effective communication void of demeaning words makes them feel that despite their mistakes, they are still loved, heard, understood, and respected by their parents, much more, this boosts their self-esteem.
“Humans across cultures need to feel heard and understood. That way, they are happier, more self-motivated, and more confident,” says Marbell Pierre.
Conversely, when parents communicate negatively with their children, it doesn’t only rid them of their self-worth, but it leaves them in perpetual fear as they become secretive, unhappy, and secluded. You will only succeed to lose your child and leaving them with the rigour of fighting distorted self-esteem.
The Mother-Daughter Duo
The parent-child relationship can be very complex and mothers and daughters have more tendency to fight than any other parent-child pair. “I still on some days have a wonderful relationship with my daughter, but it goes from this back-and-forth loving relationship to almost seeming like that person looks at you like you’re enemy No. 1,” Taryn Cregon says of her daughter Zoe, who is 13.
Do you have difficulty with having a conservation with your girl child? Perhaps a few tips can help.
How to achieve open, positive and effective communication with your child/ward
- The art of listening.
Listening is an important skill one must learn in other to be able to communicate effectively.
Research shows that “When parents listen to their children, it makes their children easily confide in them. It also makes the child feel that their parents care about them and are interested in what they have to say.”
If you must be a good listener, then you should maintain steady eye contact while communicating with your child. This way they feel they have your attention and you are not distracted. Again, avoid interrupting your child while speaking as this can truncate their thought flow. Lastly, when they are done speaking, let them know you heard and you were listening. This you can do by restating what was said, if not exactly, a little bit differently.
- Avoid the use of demeaning words
In communicating with your child even when you are angry, or during a conflict, do not call your child names. You should not expect perfection from your child. So, when they err, do not resort to putting them down as this can hamper effective communication. This is also detrimental to the child’s self-esteem.
” Children who are put down by their parents often feel rejected, unloved, and inadequate.”
It is important to let your child know that your correcting them is to encourage them to have a change of character, not to judge or criticize them. Hence, the need to carefully choose your words.
- Regular catch-up times and family meetings
This can also do the magic. Parents can set aside time to communicate with their children. Despite your busy schedule as a parent, it is important to create time for family catch-ups. This creates a special kind of bond in a parent-child relationship. It doesn’t have to be a formal meeting. Perhaps, during dinner may be just perfect. The goal is to catch up with the happenings in each other’s lives, especially for the child.
Research conducted by the Center for Effective Parenting, reports that “One very useful communication tool for families with older children is the regularly scheduled time to talk.”
Family meeting times can be used to settle pending issues and air grievances in a peaceful and more comfortable atmosphere.
- Quit nagging and lecturing
If you will have effective communication with your daughter, quit nagging and lecturing her. Constant repetition and giving out of information can overtime become boring to teenagers. This can cause the child to become resentful and defensive.
“A lot of extended arguments that happen with children are happening because parents take the bait, we need to let that riffraff go and cease-and-desist because it is going nowhere,” says Kastner.
Mothers can avoid nagging and lecturing their children by keeping their conversations brief. ” I feel like I am a child, whenever my mom nags me over issues,” says 14-year-old Kim.
“Keep your conversations brief. The aim is to pass on information, as well as checking that the child is paying attention and also understanding what is being said at intervals.”
- Keep your emotions in check
Making headway in communicating with your daughter, will require that you keep your calm a lot of time. You can do this by stepping out briefly or by taking a deep breath. During a conflict, parents lash out at their children and do things fuelled by anger. This can shut the child out completely and can close room for subsequent conversations. If you will get the best out of your child during conversations, be calm and polite.
” We don’t want to drive under the influence of alcohol, and we don’t want to talk to our loved ones under the influence of extreme emotions,” says Kastner.
It becomes obvious that healthy communication with your children helps boost positive self-esteem and fosters loving and sincere relationships. Hence, taking proactive steps to ensure your daughter’s life skill development, in the area of communication, will aid them to express themselves powerfully, listen effectively, and create meaningful relationships. All of which is needed to have a fulfilling and happy life. Effective communication may seem like a hard job, but it is achievable if it is constantly practised and it could restore that almost breaking bond.