16. Don’t sweat the small stuff. By all means, enforce your serious rules firmly, but try not to sweat the small stuff. Often times kids will tune out from listening to their parents if they tend to lecture over little things a lot.
For example, telling your child what they “ought” to be doing all the time will eventually fall on deaf ears. They are not thinking for themselves what they ought to be doing because they are always being told.
For example, instead of saying, “You must listen to your teacher at school, or else you won’t understand”. Try to use an approach where they can think for themselves what they should do. Use inquiry based questioning such as “What do you find hard to understand at school? Why do you think you find this difficult? What could you do in class to learn more from your teacher?”
With this approach you are able to have a more connected discussion where the child has to think of a resolution and strategy for improving their behavior or problem. When you do need to enforce a more serious rule that is not negotiable, your kids are more likely to listen.
17. Be considerate. Think about the way that you talk to your friends. Then think about the way you speak to your kids. Is it with the same consideration and tone? More wonderful relationships with kids would develop if adults gave as much thought and consideration talking to their kids as they do when talking to their friends.
18. Show acceptance. When you show your kids that you accept and love them just the way they are despite their differences, they will be more likely to share their feelings and problems with you. They will know that as they grow and change, you will be there for them no matter what.
We do not have to accept inappropriate behavior such as violence or teasing. We can however accept and love our kids as they are by their character, personality and individual interests.
For example: Oliver says “Mum, I am feeling scared to go to bed”. A response to encourage more communication would be:
“That’s okay Oliver. I will leave the door open and turn on your night light. I will pop in later to check on you”.
A poor response would be:
“Don’t be a big cry baby Oliver. You’re old enough to know better than that. Only baby boys get scared!”
19. Don’t interrupt. Try not to interrupt of scold your kids when they are telling you a story. Kids will lose interest in sharing their feelings with you if you shift away from their story and use the time to teach them a lesson.
For example, Henry came home really excited from Sally’s place and started to tell his mother all about the great time he had playing down by the dam. His mother rudely interrupted his story and began to lecture him on the dangers of playing around water. Henry didn’t finish his story and thought twice about sharing his experiences with his mother the next time.
Henry’s mother certainly should remind him of the rule about playing near water and ensuring there is an adult present, but at another time or at least when he has finished his story.
20. Make conversation a priority with your kids. Open and comfortable communication with your kids develops confidence, self-esteem, good relationships with others, cooperation and warm relationships with you. Take the time and effort to foster your relationship and communication skills by talking with your kids as much as you can.
Remember that talking with kids is a two way street. Talk with them and then hear what they have to say. Listening is just as important as talking.