5 ways you can improve communication with your difficult child
What do you do when your child refuses to listen?
Sometimes, no matter how you talk to your child and no matter what you try, they do not seem to listen. Not being able to properly communicate with them can leave you feeling frustrated, helpless, and worried as you wonder, “What am I doing wrong?” Often, when we have difficult or strong-willed children, simply changing the way in which we communicate can make a huge difference.
There are 5 things you can do to improve communication.
1. Invite participation
Instead of telling your child that they should not or are not allowed to do something, invite them to do the opposite. For example, say “Be kind” instead of “Do not say mean things”. Strong-willed, difficult children are unlikely to comply when you use the words “Do not”.
2. Reward — do not punish.
Get to know your child better by finding out what they value and like. Instead of punishing them for bad behavior, reward them when they do something good.
3. Be consistent.
You and your partner need to be in agreement. If your child sees that you often disagree, they are likely to pit you against one another in order to get what they want.
4. Limit your emotion.
It is normal to feel angry and frustrated with your child. However, it is important that you do not show this. Try to maintain a calm tone when talking to them. In doing so, you ensure that they remain calm too. If you show your anger, they will become defensive. When this happens, they can say and do things that will infuriate you. In other words, the situation can become worse.
5. Acknowledge their feelings.
Children need to feel heard and seen. Instead of scolding and lecturing them, try acknowledging their emotions. This does not mean that you cannot address what they have done or why it is wrong. It simply means that you make them see that you understand how they feel. For example, saying “I see that you are angry but you should not throw objects around the house” shows you care about how they feel but that their behavior is wrong.
These 5 simple things can change the entire relationship between you and your child.