So your kid is grumpy when they get home and when you ask the reason, you get a curt, “nothing” in return.
Test Sheets and Work Sheets are left at school “by accident” with less than “A” grades.
Your kid just walked up to you to say something, but you just shooed her away as you were in the middle of an important project to finish. And when you get back the child is in no mood to talk.
Sounds familiar? If your answer is a resounding yes, then you will have to think about how approachable as a parent you are to your kid.
Being an approachable parent is all the more a necessity now than ever before. With the advancement of technology, guiding your kids is even more necessary. It is better off kids approach you as a parent for guidance rather than some internet stranger.
Not all kids are alike. As a mommy of three beautiful children, I only know it too well.
My eldest needs to say what happened in school the moment she comes through the door. There is no detail left and she gives a very livid presentation of her day.
My son on the other hand, waits out his turn and does open up a little if asked. He does shares “his” version of the school day and I have to deduce what actually must have happened in the school.
Now coming to my youngest daughter. Our conversations are something as follows,
“How are you?”
“How was your day?”
“So what happened in class today?”
“And what did you learn?”
“Who are your friends?”
So you can imagine how exactly our interactions go. I firmly believe this has to do with their own “in-built” nature than what we have taught them to be. As there cannot be a reason that my own three kids are as different as a chalk and cheese.
Nonetheless, I never give up and do ask her fairly different set of questions everyday to try to open her up more. I have seen as of late that she has been opening up a little when my eldest starts narrating her day. So the moment she does, I give 5 minutes each to tell their day in a jiffy.
Here are few tips on how to be an approachable parent.
When the kids tell you about their day, are you just nodding your head, or actually listening. Keep eye contact with your kid when they tell you how there was a rabbit behind the school tree and all kids were squealing. The more you listen, the more they will be able to trust you to share.
This is so, so, so important. Are you the kind of parent who would jump the gun without even hearing the whole story. What? How could you? You did WHAT? Where DID YOU GO? Is this the first reaction when you hear something that you disapprove of???!!
Take a breather. Be patient and be grateful your child is actually confessing it to you. Rather walk them through the pitfalls of whatever mistake they have made. Ask them intelligent questions like, “What do you think would have happened?” “What made you do it?” “What were you hoping would happen?”
Trust your child and never berate them. Never break their trust. Once the trust is broken, it takes a long time to mend. Don’t we all know as an adult how much trust is important. Isn’t it all the more important for kids to have their trusts.
The kids should trust their parents to come and share their feelings. Here I would like to add that once we press the wrong buttons and lose the trust of the child, the child totally goes in the cocoon. He/She will have trouble opening up to you quickly. I have noticed that kids do not even share positive things with their parents fearing the backlash.
Let the child trust that you are his/her best well-wisher and even if you do get angry for any mischief they have done, it is for their own good.
Give Equal Time
This is one of the major tips. As soon as the kids are back home, I ask them to tell me about their day for 5 minutes each, starting from the youngest. Once each one’s turn is done, they get a chance until they are exhausted of their happenings. And no one interrupts while the other talks. This is mostly effective for all the three kids. As my youngest never shares anything, she is encouraged by seeing her siblings open up.
Almost always, she takes her second turn to open up. And the other advantage is when my eldest starts talking, she never ends for half an hour, and by that time she finishes, my son has no enthusiasm to share anything. By allotting equal time, everyone gets a fair chance and no one is neglected.
Do Not Lecture
DO NOT TURN ANY CONVERSATION INTO A LECTURE. Most parents are guilty of starting lectures whenever they converse with their kids, myself included. Will it hurt to just have a normal conversation, have a little fun talk like normal people. Do not keep your conversation as a lecture time always. There is a time and place for everything.
All kids will make mistakes. Be graceful of their mistakes. Remember your childhood and remember the times you made mistakes. It has made you what you are today. Your kids are individual human beings too, they will make mistakes. They will fall short of your very high expectations. Look beyond their mistakes, love them for who they are. This one last tip will reap you rich rewards in the way of building up your child’s trust.
So these were my quick 6 tips for being an approachable parent.
Let me know through comments how you deal with your kids?
Until Next Time,