BY ICIA REID-SANDULAK MSW,MFTI
As parents you talk, you lecture, and you expect to be heard by your children. At the same time, you
need not forget that your children are also talking. You hear the sounds that they are making, but are
you attentively listening to the words that they are saying? It is imperative that you listen to them and
make special time for them. You can choose breakfast time, or dinner time to allow them to express
themselves. They will feel like they can come to you with anything, because you value their words.
Spend quality time with your children. Take them on a picnic, have a family game night, watch one of
their favorite shows with them, take them for a walk, have them help with dinner and eat meals
together. They will feel validated by you.
Be consistent with your children and follow through on discipline. This creates stability for the child, but
keep in mind that one type of discipline does not fit all children. The age of the child, the maturity level,
and possible disability, determines what type of discipline should apply. Pick your battles, do not nitpick
at your children. Be loving, be flexible, be firm. Use reward systems when necessary. Acknowledge
your children when they are following directions, and let your children know when they are doing a
Maintaining open communication is your children’s lifeline. As we know, communication is the key to
building a solid relationship. Open communication allows your children to discuss their feelings,
concerns, hopes and desires. You will definitely get to know your children better if you make room for
continuous communication with them.