PARENTING HACK | Enabling your child to open up

Here’s a simple idea to help you to create a safe space in which your child can open up about what’s on their mind… I’d love to hear your variations on this and what works well in your family; please leave a comment with your ideas and experiences.

Further Resources

Self-Esteem: Helping Teens Find Purpose & Belonging

Help Anxious Children Feel Calm & in Control

Navigating Frenemies, Cliques and Bants with Your Teen

Supporting Children with Friendship Issues

Transcript

Please note that the transcript is auto generated

hello today i want to share with you a teeny tiny parenting hack that can really help to create space for your children to open up to you if they’ve got things on their minds now um as parents as carers we often want our children to let us know if there are things that are worrying them but it can be quite hard to kind of find the right moment and to get them talking and what you will often find is that these conversations will most naturally happen at the times when you’re busy doing other things and this is because it can feel really confrontational when you’re kind of sat face to face and you’re basically saying to your child tell me what’s going on with you often this can make them feel a bit fearful a bit worried all their thoughts get in a jumble and it’s hard for them to get their words out and also it’s on our terms rather than theirs but if we’re busy doing something else preferably something alongside our child then sometimes you know they continue thinking their thoughts are going through their mind and the conversation might just more naturally happen and you’ve probably observed this in your daily life you’ve probably had times when you are driving and your child begins talking to you or you’re really busy cooking dinner and your child starts opening up to you about something for example so the hack here is to find some busy activities that you can do in the presence of your child that kind of takes the pressure off and enables them to talk and you can kind of game this a little bit um so recently a parent said to me how her child finally started opening up to her when she was cleaning the bathroom and the conversation was flowing quite well and so she just went round and round and round and cleaned the bathroom again and again and again even though obviously after it had been cleaned once it was clean um but this conversation went on for about an hour and mom just continued cleaning the bathroom i have found uh similarly that if i sit with my children whilst they’re doing their homework and i knit um and i’m kind of half there if they need help with their homework but i’m also kind of you know paying attention to my knitting often this is a time when they will begin to talk about the things that have happened in their day and the things that feel big to them so try to find some activities that you can do that don’t take your whole attention your whole focus but mean that you can be in the presence of your child or children but without your attention focused wholly on them just so you’re you’re present there are other things going on it takes the pressure off then that can enable those moments when your child might feel more able to talk if the conversation does begin remember that your role here is not to fix but rather to listen you’re creating space so that your child can think out loud they can begin exploring what they have to say and what they need from you is not for you necessarily to know the advance the answers to advise or to guide or to change things for them but primarily to listen the very most helpful thing that you can do as a parent as a carer is to create that space for listening to listen with your whole self really listen to understand rather than to respond and then perhaps ask some questions that might help your child to begin to wonder about what they might next do if you’ve got really good ideas about what might be helpful often your child will be more receptive to those ideas if you’re able to create a situation where they make those suggestions for themselves when you tell them to do something you advise them you guide them in a certain way often they’re unlikely to take that advice however if you create a situation where they’re able to come up with those same or similar ideas for themselves then they might feel more ownership of those things this isn’t about you being right about you telling them what to do it’s about you creating a safe space where they can begin to explore their own problems and come up with their own solutions of course if they ask for your advice they ask your guidance they ask your ideas you can gladly give them but try not to go too far with that because it can be really off-putting so there you go the simple hack is find busy things that you can be doing in your child’s presence and just be there ready to listen ready with some open questions if they do begin to talk and allow that conversation to flow don’t force it sit with the silence just continue doing what you’re doing and create that safe space for your child good luck i would love to hear what things you find are helpful to enabling these kinds of conversations to happen when your child has got something on their mind leave a comment down below with the things that you have found helpful in the past take care bye