When your children were little they were like open books. As they develop and change, how open they are with you may change. The easy answer to this dilemma is spend time with them.
I’m sure you’re thinking “I do spend time with them.” It’s the type of time. It’s what you talk about. Building rapport with your child may seem like a bizzare concept, but it works. Especially with the children that are struggling with big emotions and disruptive behaviours. They are desperate to connect, they just don’t know how.
Have some fun!
Keep it light. Don’t get into deep conversations. Get to know what they like, be curious. Remember what it was like to be young. Don’t get into rational thinking. Just be real, be warm, be open to coversations.
Practice active listening. Just listen. Smile, nod, match their affect. Don’t interrupt or offer advice. Just listen.
Listen to Understand, Not to Respond.
When you spend time with them and have a strong relationship, the difficult conversations are easier to have. Listen without judgement. Remember to make it about them first, THEN you can talk about your concerns. Sometimes it’s about not talking at all. About giving them a hug. Let them know you love them no matter what, and you will figure things out together.
Listen without judgement.