What to do to get your child to confide in you? Every parent would want to know each and everything going on in their child’s life. It is all but natural to feel so. However, if that is not happening yet, maybe there is something you are missing out on. Don’t feel sad, the situation can be improved. Read to find out what can be done to make parenting joy and for your child to come to you first whenever something is going on in their life that is bothering them.
1. Make time to talk about each other’s day, every day
As parents, we already have enough tasks at hand to keep us busy throughout the day. Find a time that fits in your schedule, either in the evening or after dinner. Let this time become sacred every day. During this time, share with your child how your day felt like. Be ready, and willing to share all that has brought you joy, what has challenged you, and how you dealt with it.
When you share what your day was like, it offers your child a peek into an adult’s life and broadens their perspective in thoughts, and feelings.
Encourage your child to talk, and open up by asking a few questions, gently to begin with. Then as days progress, you will find them at ease sharing non-stop every detail of their day with excitement, pride over accomplishments, and their share of disappointment too.
2. Be vulnerable in sharing your feelings
When you are willing to express all emotions openly with your child and allow them to see not only your broadest smile but also a grim face, and a few tears roll down your cheeks when upset, it conveys a message deeply. That it is okay to express emotions, talk about anything that is in the mind, and seek help when needed.
It distills a safe environment, and a healthy upbringing where your child knows s/he can let you know what is troubling them the most.
3. Trust them with little secrets of yours
At times it’s important to become a kid when you are parenting, and allow this to be a way of parenting while it gets the stress off your back in a fun way.
And who doesn’t want to be let in on a secret? However, make sure these are appropriate for their age, and overall development. For instance, not saying things that will blow their perception in relationships, and love if you talk to them about a cheating spouse.
4. Listen with interest
No matter how many small details your little one may want to add to the story, and even if you know it already or have heard them say it before, be patient. Yes, be patient, and listen with interest. Your child can definitely understand, and pick up from cues if you are not interested in what they have to tell you. Keep your mobile away for some time, and let your child know that this time means a lot, and they are your priority. Make them feel special.
5. Listen without interrupting
You may have the urge to parent and correct your child immediately. While that is required, remember this time that you are both spending together is purely to talk. So, hold back your emotions. Hold back on what you have to offer as a solution, and do not interrupt, even if you know where it is headed. Don’t strip away their joy of sharing.
6. Don’t judge
If you are let in on their deepest fears and secrets, it means your child is finding an outlet to feel better, to seek assurance that it will all be ok, and wants to feel safe and loved in spite of what has happened. As a parent, you may have the right to feel anger and/or disappointment, but remember it is also what you want the most for your child, to enable them to grow stronger. And so hold back in your remarks and be sensitive if you have something to say immediately.
7. Thank them for sharing
Say “thank you”, it’s a word you like to hear from your child, but also a word that your child would be thrilled to hear from you. When you thank your child for sharing it with you, it reinforces their thought that it was the right choice they made, and even if they were hesitant, it would now make them feel at ease for doing so. Either way, it helps strengthen the bond between the two of you.
8. Don’t offer a solution immediately, ask them what they think
Now, comes the time when all has been laid on the table, and there is an issue staring in your face. Be patient even if you know the response and solution, don’t jump right into putting it out there. Ask your child what s/he thinks should be done in this case? It lets you in on their thought process. Nudge them by gently asking questions, directing them towards the solution. Only if they are unable to add it all up, will you offer your solution. but remember to be kind when doing so, don’t criticize them for being honest with you.
9. If they don’t share, don’t punish ask them why they were uncomfortable sharing
There could also be times when your child is confiding in you but once or twice may keep things from you. If and when you come to know, don’t get angry or upset, it will reinforce their decision to not have shared it with you in the first place. Ask your child why s/he wanted to avoid sharing, and if the problem has been resolved completely now. Listen carefully to the reason and be mindful of your expressions and emotions. Punishing your child or grounding them is not an option at all for keeping things from you.
10. Keep their secret (don’t let them feel shame/embarrassment)
If you are being let in on their little secrets, it means you are trusted with it. So, it’s your responsibility to live up to it, and not let anyone know about it. Even if you are tempted to share it with your spouse, do so only if the two of you can keep it together. Also, don’t let your child feel shame or embarrassment for letting you know their secret. You will only undermine their confidence and self-esteem by doing so.
These may sound easy and simple, and they certainly are. However, if practiced well in the true spirit that it is intended to be lived with, it will help you enjoy parenting and share an in-depth bond with your child as s/he grows into a confident adult.
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