- The tone, the choice of words, and the ‘general’ expectation you have of them ‘doing it your way’, ‘at your time and style’ and instructions that you give needs a quick re-think. Children easily pick up on these, and your ‘tired’, ‘irritated’ and ‘condescending’ tone winds them up further, so calm yourself down, and also be mindful of how you come across – a nag, a control freak, someone who is comparing the child to others? Ease up a little bit, and allow yourself to empathise with a child who has no other ‘outlet’ to express and remains confined to the four walls of the apartment and needs a ‘break’ with direction every now and then
- Set up a ‘negotiation’ platform with your child about the ‘on-line’ activity (note, I have refrained from using the word ‘screen-time!!). Children, and this may come as a surprise thrive best with some boundaries and they work best to stick to them if there is flexibility, they are allowed some freedom and some consideration and also understand consequences that you will have to follow through with consistency when it comes to enforcement. In school, teachers call these essential agreements, and you must start with this immediately, to be revisited every week depending on the week go on. Don’t make it about what you think, but about what they would like and knock down unreasonable requests with logic but come across as the one ‘giving’ more!
- Patience works like a miracle to building better communication and nothing said or dictated in anger or frustration will work. You will always have to be the bigger one, ditching the ego, and allowing your child some ‘manoeuvring’ room. Maintain a diary of how much often this happens – lack of sleep, lack of physical activity, lack of food, excessive time on line and ‘losing’ games, lack of social connect and discuss this openly with children, letting them know that they may need to consider some of these when they are being a tad ‘unreasonable’. They need to be told about these behaviours for them to start thinking about improvement and this needs to be called out in a timely manner. Also, have a suggestion for them when you call these out – let’s cycle, what what you like to help me make for you that is yummy (involve them), wanna watch telly together? Hey I read this book or I read this on social media, what are your thoughts, hey come with me to get the parcel from security … let’s play this together …. get the drift?
- Choice of words are usually what breaks this communication bond. Often parents use statements like ‘are you stupid?’; ‘don’t you get it?’, ‘I am your mother and I will decide’ etc …. parents this does not work. If you want them to communicate with you, you will have to level, reason, and express yourself with clarity, grace and dignity and not with aimless threats of ‘banning’ and ‘grounding’. That style of parenting does not work with this generation and expect them to be defiant if you are being a dictator!
- Walk away – I have often told parents that the worst thing to do when there is a communication break down is to continue to ‘lecture’ and ‘revisit’ the past mistakes. The children will zone off immediately and can only hear you criticise them! Acknowledging their tantrums by indulging isn’t advisable … sometimes, distance and self reflection works!
…. many more little tips, and I must say, parenting in Covid19 times does require one to dig deep and find that patience and strength, and therefore attach a great deal of importance to your own mental health, wellness, fitness, and ‘me-time’. A happy you will be a content you, and this brings out the best in your relationships with your children.