Look at the following list of topics. How many of each type of conversation do you think you have with your child each week?
__Relational (about how they are in their other relationships—friends, teachers, spouse, siblings)
__Silly (movies, entertainment, jokes)
__Inner States (how they are feeling / how you are feeling)
Now that you have your guesses, for one week, keep a log of every conversation you have with your child.
For many of the parents I have done this exercise with, they have been shocked at the real answers. It is surprising how often we can talk to someone, but not really talk about anything important. Of the topics above, these are the issues that ca help you relate to and get to know your child:
In addition, there are ways you can encourage more deep communication:
1. Quality Over Quantity Conversation
Parents tell me they spend tons of time with their kids—watching TV, going to movies and watching them play sports games. This is a lot of time, but not a lot of quality time. The same goes for conversations. Ask yourself: “Is this a quality talk or just a talk to talk?”
2. Keep Arguments in Check
Arguing can be another way of relating and getting to know your child—their opinions, their logic and what is going on for them. Make sure that when you argue you are being specific about your needs.
When you have quality conversations, you are also fulfilling a child’s intrinsic need to be heard. This shows them you care about them, you are there for them, and most importantly, you love them.