There is much to be said about Positive Family Communication, this is such an important Developmental Asset. Here are some ideas I want to share with you.
1. Teach your children the language of emotion. Help them to describe how they are feeling, this will help them understand how they are feeling and communicate those feelings to you, their parent.
2. If your child is feeling angry, sad or really excited try to find out why. If they don't want to tell you why, make sure you know that you are there for them and will be ready to listen when they are ready to share. Sometimes pushing your child to share when they are not ready can do exactly the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. Patience is key!
3. Remember eye contact. We all know how it feels when someone we are talking to seems distracted or not really listening. It is every bit as frustrating and minimizing when we do it to our children. Get down to their level, take the time to really listen and let them know you really care.
4. Careful with jokes and teasing. What might seem like harmless fun from our perspective might feel very different from the perspective of our youngster. Watch carefully for signs that jokes or teasing is making your child uncomfortable or hurting their feelings.
5. Let the emotions of your child come out without judgement or shame. Scolding a child for crying or being angry simply teaches them their feelings are not valid and they should keep them inside. It won't stop them from feeling that way, only prevents them from sharing them freely. Even if you feel the issue is trivial, let them express their sorrow without judgement or feelings of shame.
Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Positive Family Communication. There have been hundres of books written on this very subject. These are some great starting points and ideas for places to start in creating an environment in your home, were communicationis honest and helpful. Have a great week and remember, everyone can be an asset builder!