1. Building meaningful Communication
Be an Empathetic & Active Listener. Be vulnerable to express your weakness. This is very important to have a true conversation with child, making them feel safe to open up. Always make them feel, you are genuinely listening. This will help child to expresses without any hesitation and safe to share deeply if any mistakes done without fearing about any consequences. It may prevent frustration & future miscommunication. Showing your child that you are not perfect and can make mistakes will instill a sense of safety in your relationship and the relationships that they will develop with other people.
2. Creative Talking about everyday happening with child
If child is willing to talk, ask open-ended questions, which start with,” What” and “tell me about…” to show to be more eager to explore about his/her life. Sometimes child may enjoy answering. Child is most likely to open up when we ask questions in a casual non-judgmental tone. Here are some examples which can be used as per the context /situation:
“Tell me what you enjoyed the most today?”
“What are your thoughts on this (topic)_________?”
“What were some situations that were frustrating this week?”
3. Sharing your feelings like anger, frustration, fear, and anxiety in healthy ways.
We all know child is learning from parents & people around. Most of time, they are mirroring our actions, facial expressions, and how we manage our feelings.
I remember, when I or my partner had shown anger in certain way, my both children will have similar ways to express their unhappiness when ever they got the next opportunity to mirror something they have picked up from our behavior.
So let us learn few healthy ways to express our frustrations and bad moods. As children are learning and picking up same energy.
- I have learnt that when we listen to someone’s problems, it acts like a healing—process which reduces stress, physical and emotional distress.
- I encourage fathers to write about their stressful issues.
- If your child doesn’t enjoy writing, help him or her find a creative way of expressing them like making a private video, audio recorded journal, or any form of art.
I have often seen my daughter doing all the above activities. Many of her play times have helped me to understand more about my reactions towards my children which helped me to figure out where I need some course corrections in my behaviors.
Remember, our past relationships influence and affect the relationships that we create with our partner, friends, and children.
I invite each Father to provide a safe and non-judgmental space for child to communicate and express their feelings. If you haven’t been able to do this, it is likely that it has not been modelled for you in your surrounding. If required, ask for the professional help.