Children need to be nurtured, loved, and experience positive regard to develop to their full potential. As a parent, it is important to make a conscious and intentional effort to connect with your child in order to both understand them and help them grow.
When you understand your child; his/her verbal and non-verbal communication style, interests, strengths, and areas of growth, you will communicate more effectively with them and be able to guide them as they grow and mature into a more independent teenager and eventually young adult.
Here are a few tips to help you understand your child better from our team of specialists at The OCD & Anxiety Center.
Take notice of your child’s behavior as they eat, sleep, and play. Notice how they react to situations and interact with other adults and children. Are they interested in a particular activity? Do they adapt to changes easily or need time to become familiar with a new situation? Are there certain situations that trigger anxiety, frustration, joy, etc.? By simply observing your child, you will get to know about their overall personality, interests, and areas of difficulty and growth.
Talk and Listen to Them
Talking and listening to your child will improve your relationship with them. Thus, it is essential to set aside time for talking with and listening to your child.
When talking to your child, maintain appropriate eye contact with them. Use compassionate and empathetic language. Talk about and normalize different kinds of feelings, including joy, frustration, anger, anxiety, and fear. Use simple language. If you have a young child, use limited verbal language and more facial expressions, body language, and pictures or illustrations. Be sure to ask open-ended questions to encourage a discussion.
Effective communication is a two-way street. Listening to your child is as important as talking to them. Pay attention and listen carefully when your kid is talking to you. Take care to not interrupt them. If you do not understand something, ask questions. Once your child has finished talking, repeat back what they said to demonstrate that you were listening and validate their perspective.
If your home environment is not conducive to effective communication, go on a walk, to the backyard, or even on a day outing to create a good listening environment.
Spend Quality Time with Them
Make spending quality time with your child a priority. Take time to schedule activities for parent-child bonding.
If you want your child to connect with nature, go hiking, to the park, or on a walk. Play games that your child enjoys. Make and enjoy meals with them. To foster creativity in your child, encourage them to explore their interests and expose them to other hobbies like music or building.
Study Their Environment
Your child’s environment can have a significant impact on their behavior and outlook towards people around them. Try to understand different aspects of your child’s environment, such as people with whom they interact daily (including their friends, relatives, and teachers).
Conflicts and arguments at home can have a significant impact on your child’s behavior. If your child displays aggressive behavior, assess the environment at home for any potential sources of this behavior. Often, information from the environment can help parents start to problem solve around situations that may be difficult for a child.
The OCD & Anxiety Center team comprises highly effective child psychologists for anxiety near you. Our pros use tried and tested methods to promote positive behavior in children. To make an appointment, call (630) 522-3124.
Dr. Maha Zayed is a psychologist and owner of The OCD & Anxiety Center. The Center is located in two suburbs outside of Chicago. She has devoted her career to specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy for anxiety, OCD, and anxiety-related disorders. She is comfortable working with children and adults and is able to provide treatment both in the office and outside of the office, wherever anxiety happens.