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Mom's Talk Question: What Do You Do to Ensure the Communication Lines With Your Kids Remain Open?

We ask. You answer. Participate in our online discussion.

Talk to your kids. Talk at your kids.

There is a difference between the two, and often reflects the communication between parents and their children.

Keeping communication lines open is an ongoing process that must adapt and adjust as children grow older and more independent. 

What has worked for you? Share your experiences as we answer the question together.

QUESTION: What do you do to ensure the communication lines with your kids remain open?

ANSWER: You tell us. Login in the upper right hand corner. It's free and only takes about 20 seconds. Then comment on this article. Share your views and get some advice. Suggest future questions for discussion.

Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff.

Every Wednesday in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our communities will have a new resource for the thousands of issues that arise while raising children.

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today with a question from theLake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch's Mom's Council.

The Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Moms Council will share their insights along with you.

marcy kowalski April 13, 2011 at 07:11 PM
We have a real friendship with each of our kids which can only be built on trust. They know we have experience and the parental role and that our job is to walk alongside them to teach them, love them and guide them through life. We have to be firm, but they also know when they don't like it, it is for their own good and that we are there for them. Talking openly during the good and tough times is key, so when you hit the rough patches, deep down they know we are on their side and that we love them for them. These experiences are there for them to grow amongst love and support and through cosequences. Our kids all know the Bible and the biblical plan of family by God, so that also helps that they know this is God's plan for family. We have 4 kids and it is amazing how quickly they get it and work through it with this process.
Robin Bermel April 14, 2011 at 12:16 AM
My kids are still young and want to be around me (i.e. it's going to get worse). I have learned a lot from the book, "The Five Love Languages". The copy I read is for relating to your spouse. But there are others versions and I think it applies. Each of us is wired with a special way that we feel extremely loved and understood--be it spending time together, words of affirmation, gifts (giving & receiving), physical touch... and there's a fifth which I forgot. I see these in my children. Where one likes just being around me, another lights up when I encourage him, and so on. I think it's important to clue into the uniqueness of each of our children so we can meet them where they are at, nurture them. When the time comes, a foundation will be built so communication can be maintained and grow. Our pastor at church has told us that as teens, it's completely normal for kids to pull away. That's in their DNA. It sure was in mine! It's part of growth and they will return. But hopefully there will be a level of respect throughout their lives. I recently read a quote from the author of "The Four Minute Work Week" that I liked: "Success can be measured in the number of difficult conversations we are willing to have." That says a lot!
Megan Morris April 14, 2011 at 03:15 AM
I remember being told early on in my parenting to embrace the the opportunities when your child is willing to open their heart. It may be the quietness at bed time or the rides in the car. Seize the moments when your child wants to share their day, their thoughts, their frustrations. Not always easy to do when they want to share while I'm trying to make dinner and helping siblings with homework. I feel so rewarded when I do stop what I'm doing and really listen. "Tell me about it" is a phrase shared by one of the LEAD speakers this year and I've used it a lot with great success. It's amazing what I hear from my kids when I stop what I'm doing, sit down, look them in the eye, and say, "really, tell me more."
shelley April 14, 2011 at 12:40 PM
I believe it starts when children are young and want to be by your side and can't wait to tell you everything about their day. Whether it's discussing a Sponge Bob episode together or talking about a game of WII tennis, the foundation is laid for when they're teens. Family dinners, as often as possible also help our family stay connected. Being close with them individually but also maintaining a close knit family, helps to keep the lines of communication open. I make sure that I have some unique connections with each of them on an individual basis. It's something that I can always fall back on, when it gets tough to connect. With my son, I can always drum up a conversation about our shared favorite college sports team. With one of my daughters, I make sure that I watch one reality tv show with her each season. And my other daughter and I love to share organizational tips with each other. So there's always something that brings each of us together. Communicating with teens can get more complicated than talking with younger children, but if you set the precedent when they are young and continue to always make an effort to keep the lines open, it is not that difficult.
Samina April 17, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Three small children require frequent daily laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. and suddenly feeling like there isn't enough time in the day for talking. A while back, I realized that I was getting more information from my babysitter on my children's interests and how their day went than I was getting from them myself. I have since made a concerted effort to spend quality time with each one every day, including my 2 year old (who is quite chatty!) asking them about their day, interests, and just commenting on the world and either asking them their feedback or more importantly, remaining silent and allowing them to digest the information and respond at their own pace. Spending time with each and having them know that I am present and interested in their daily lives and activities has made communication flow without much prompting. As they get busier with school and after-school activities, I hope to continue making a concerted effort to keep communication open and easily flowing.

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