4 Ways To Help Your Kids Open Up

As a parent, you’ve probably experienced moments where a conversation with your child went deeper than you expected.  And it was AWESOME (maybe a little scary at times, but nevertheless, awesome)!!  Sadly though, these moments are often few and far between.  However, I believe there are some practical ways that we as parents can help foster an environment where those special types of conversations can occur more frequently.

Let’s be honest, what’s the go-to question when you see your kid after school?  Yep, “How was your day?”  And there are only so many answers they can give before that question simply becomes white noise to them.  So, be creative in your questioning – “What made you laugh today?”  “What celebrity does your teacher remind you of most?” “What’s your favorite song right now?”  “What friend did you hang out most with today?”  It doesn’t always have to start with a question.  Again, be creative.  And if you’re stuck for an idea, ask Siri or Alexa for some creative ways to kick off a conversation with your kids.

When it’s their turn to talk, give your kid your full attention.  Put down your phone and make good eye contact.  Then ask relevant follow-up questions to let them know that you were listening and that you care about what they had to say.  Try your best to listen more than you talk.  It won’t always happen. Not every conversation will be or needs to be a lengthy one.  But make strides to become a more active listener when it comes to your child.

This one takes a real effort and some invested time.  When it comes to serious conversations, if a kid expects overreactions, outbursts, and drama, they will choose to conceal rather than disclose.  Have a proven track record of being a person they can feel safe coming to with tough questions or when they’ve failed.  In those difficult moments, your child is more apt to open up if you are willing to be vulnerable first and share about a tough experience or perhaps even a time when you messed up.  Let them know that they are not alone.  And then, make absolutely certain they understand that the things they share with you can be trusted with you.  Don’t be a gossip or share their personal information or stories without permission.  Handling their emotions, trust, and openness with care will help ensure that the lines trust of communication stay open moving forward.

This may seem contrary to the subject matter.  But there are times when you just need to sit with your kid and just be - just exist together in silence.  Kids crave peace and quiet at times every bit as much, if not more than parents do.  Don’t make them feel like there always has to be a conversation going when you are together.  Allow them to have time with their thoughts and possibly to think of a conversation starter on their own.  These can be some of the most precious times if we as parents will allow silence to be truly golden.

In the end, there are no magic formulas for creating those awesome, deep, few-and-far-between conversations with your child.  But, if you put these tips into practice, you’ll be begin to increase the odds of them happening more often.

-Jason Taylor
Worship & Youth Pastor
Posted in

Check Out Our Other Blogs Here

No Comments