Communicating with your child can be difficult, so it’s important that you discipline yourself to get your message through the right way. Even if your child displays eye rolling or heavy sighs, or refuses to engage, don’t get angry; it doesn’t mean their ears aren’t working. “You’d be surprised how your words will be played back in her mind later,” Dr. Phil says in his book Family First: Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family.
Dr. Phil offers strategies that can be helpful when trying to get through to a child. When these guidelines are followed, they have proven to be effective in drawing children of all ages out of their shells and into an exchange.
1. Approach all communication in a way that protects or enhances your child’s self-esteem, even when you’re in discipline mode.
2. Narrow the focus of your task-oriented communications as much as possible.
3. Use your communications to generate solutions rather than to relive problems.
4. Focus on the issue at hand and avoid personal attacks and character assassination.
5. Stay in the here and now.
6. Keep your problem-solving communications and exchanges private.