How to Communicate with Kids in a Digital World
With the rise of technology, it’s inevitable our trendy tech tools could cause a disruption in our daily communication with others. We might get too absorbed in responding to emails on our phone and miss important details when in conversation. What happens when the communication is with your child or teenager? As technology is evolving, we must also do our part and evolve our communication patterns, especially with our children and teens growing up in the age of technology.
From my own personal experience, I’ve realized how difficult it is to communicate with children and teens when phones & tablets are in close proximity. You might be thinking, well if the phones and tablets are an issue, why not just take them away? I too agree with that idea, but I believe there always must be an intention behind removing these devices for the sake of maintaining open communication with your child. Being proactive, and setting rules prior to a child or teen possessing a tablet/phone could be really helpful. For example, a family can choose to have a rule of no phones at the table during meal times. If your family doesn’t always have meal times together, then you could think of a time when your family is generally together and set the ‘no-tech rule’ for that time (ex: car rides, events, movies, etc.). When setting these rules, it is also helpful to include your tweens and teens in on the discussion. Having them in on the discussion allows them to not only have a sense of responsibility, but you can also hold them accountable by reminding them they contributed to making these rules if the rules are broken in the future.
The American Physiological Association’s details a general guideline for adults when communicating with children and teens. Three general tips to keep in mind are availability, active listening, and responding. Whether you are a parent, family member, teacher, etc., these helpful tips are applicable to anyone interacting with children and teens.
Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish, authored How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk, which wonderfully illustrates guidelines on communicating with children and adolescents. Some of the communication topics in this book include:
- how to cope with your child’s negative feelings (frustrations, disappointment, anger, etc.)
- how to express your anger without being hurtful
- how to engage your child’s willing cooperation
- how to set firm limits and still maintain goodwill
- use of alternatives to punishment
- how to resolve family conflicts peacefully
Throughout the text, there are graphics and workbook-style questions readers can answers that help reinforce their tips and guidelines. I highly recommend this book for anyone interacting with children on a daily basis.
What happens when the tips and tricks aren’t working, and my child isn’t listening to me anymore? What happens when I have tried setting every rule possible and I still can’t communicate with my teenager? That’s what we are here for! Lifeologie Oak Cliff’s multi-faceted clinical team is here to stand by your side and be a guiding force. Therapy for not only your child but also your entire family can help strengthen and improve the communication patterns in your family. Don’t let these unhelpful communication patterns go on longer than they have to. Call us today at (972) 590-8030.
Communication tips for parents. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Faber, A., & Mazlish, E. (1980). How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk.
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