Written By Goh Yan Ling

Communication is a critical component of human interactions. The quality of communication plays a major role in determining the quality of relationship between two people. Needless to say, positive parenting involves having good communication with your child.

As simple as it may sound, good communication involves multiple factors. For starters, the following three factors have a strong influence on the quality of communication. 

Spending Quality Time

Your child does not need you to be physically present 24/7. What is more valuable for your child is how you spend the time you have with him or her.

Doing your own respective activities in the same room as your child does not constitute as spending quality time. Instead, why not spend some time participating in a shared activity such as cooking or reading a story book together? A  5 minutes catch up session every night will also remind your child that you care for him or her.

Active Listening

Figure 1: The essence of active listening

Have you ever had the experience where you were intently watching a television programme or reading the news and your child came up to you and wanted to talk?

What did you do?

While it may seem inappropriate to stop them from talking, pretending that you are listening when you are actually distracted by something else may upset your child more!  

As the Chinese character, ”聽”, goes, active listening requires listening with your ears, maintaining contact with your eyes, and feeling with your heart to constitute giving your child your undivided attention. If you can, put aside whatever you are busy with listen to what your child wants to share with you. If you are unable to do so at that point in time, let your child know that you are unavailable currently but you will want to listen to him/her when you are available.

Do Not Discount Your Child’s Sharing

Are you ever guilty of thinking or even telling your child that what he/she is sharing is trivial or in fact, foolish?

It is tempting for us, adults, to view the world in an adults’ point of view. We rationalise things that happen and find meanings for them. We are cautious over the things we share with others, especially our emotions, as we do not want to be seen as weak or silly. However, such concerns rarely exists in a child’s world; at least not until they grow older and learn how to navigate an adult’s world like we do.

When a child shares something with you, it is likely something that he/she thinks is important to him/her. He/She will like you to know what he/she has experienced and felt towards certain matters. Thus, to encourage your child to continue sharing these intimate thoughts with you, it is vital for your child to not feel that his/her words have been discounted by you.