FAQs for Parents
Frequently Asked Questions by Parents
FAQs for Teens
Frequently Asked Questions by Teens
Tips to help you in parenting
Tips to help you in parenting
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Communicating With Your Child/Adolescent
Communication is the key to developing healthy relationships.
It takes work to develop the skills and patience needed for good
communication. The following parenting tips are suggested based
on the developmental age of your child.
Ages 0 - 3 Years
Things to remember that will help to set the stage for future communication are:
- Talking, singing, and reading to your babies and toddlers will help them to learn to talk.
- Holding children and responding to sounds shows you care about them.
- Listening to children and answering builds trust.
- Give simple answers to questions.
- Use correct names for body parts.
- Allow for exploration; put unsafe items out of reach.
- Say "NO" when needed.
- Use "Time-Out" discipline method as needed.
- Teach about "good touch, bad touch."
Ages 4 - 6 Years
This is an exciting but challenging time for children. They are
preparing to start school, and will spend more time with kids their
own age. Some activities that promote communication in children at
this stage of development are:
- Order a children's magazine - Kids love mail! Upon arrival of
the magazine, sit with the child in your life and read out loud.
- Watch a television show or video together. This activity allows
you to discuss the program or allows you to answer your child's questions
as they occur.
- Get creative! Pull out the washable paint, play-dough, or
cookbooks. Working side by side on a project with your child is not
only an opportunity for a wonderful learning experience, but also a
great way to promote communication.
Ages 7 - 9 Years
Children at this age are beginning to try new skills in school and
in social settings. They are developing friendships and interests
in sports and other activities. They may begin to fluctuate from
being dependent to wanting more independence. Kids at this age begin
asking more questions, and also question family values or opinions.
Parents can learn a lot about their child by:
- Carving out time to talk during hectic schedules. Try to spend a
few minutes each day talking with your child.
- Actively listening and eliminating distractions.
- Using "conversation extenders." This is a method to
encourage your child to converse with you. For example, if the child s
ays, "I like Johnny," the parent would respond by saying,
"Tell me what you like about Johnny." The parent is encouraging
the child to extend the conversation.
- Asking "open-ended" questions. These are questions
that require the child to respond with more than a one-word answer, i.e.,
"What did you like about school today?" It is possible for the
child to answer: "Nothing," in which case the parent may
re-phrase the question using a conversation extender, such as
"Tell me about your day at school."
Ages 10 - 12
Children go through a lot of changes during the middle school years.
It is especially important during this stage of growth and development
to be aware of what's happening in your child's life. Keeping
communication open at this time is a challenge for parents, as kids this
age tend to have fluctuating moods. They may be very accommodating and
cooperative with you and very quickly become distant or upset. The
following tips may help foster communication between you and your child
during this challenging stage:
- Eat dinner together and let everyone have a turn to talk.
- Talk in the car.
- Watch a television program together and discuss your thoughts about it.
- Consider planning "family fun nights" where the entire
family participates in an activity together. Some fun activities for
the family may be board games, arts and crafts projects, outings, etc.
Ages 13 - 17
For adolescents, this is a time of confused feelings. There are many
issues that are of concern to them. Some of these issues may include
appearances, popularity, sexuality, relationships, peer pressures, and
career choices. Adolescents also fight for independence during this
time, but are fearful of too much freedom. They may resist and resent
parental protection, but need and want parental involvement. For them,
it is a roller-coaster ride between childhood and adulthood. For
parents, it is a challenge to keep a balanced perspective on their teen's
behavior. Some of the following suggestions may help parents keep
the doors of communication open with your teen:
- Give your undivided attention to your teen when they are talking to you.
- Listen calmly, even if your opinion differs.
- Think before you respond. Try not to over-react.
- Avoid making judgements.
- Speak in a courteous manner.
- Allow discussions on any subject and permit expression of ideas and
- Provide encouragement.
- Respect your teen's desire for individuality and independence.
- Take an interest in your teen's activities and friends.