Worst Mistakes Parents Make When Talking to Kids

16 February 2017

Communication with our children is art, which, unfortunately, is not born instinctively. We all need to learn. Some parents, in communication with their children, choose an authoritarian model of education, which does not allow a child to have their own opinion or feel herself important. Other parents show excessive care and attention and choose a style that allows everything, which does not teach children self-control or limits. Studies show that both extremes can adversely affect children’s ability to regulate their emotions and build healthy relationships.


The best kind of education is a fair, flexible, respectful education with a view to learning rather than subordination. Hear and respect your children’s feelings, allow them to choose, but establish fair and clear limits on unacceptable behavior – this is the healthy balance to which we all should strive.

Long and wordy talks

When parents keep on speaking, children are pit against them. Studies have proven that the human brain is capable of accepting only four pieces of information in active memory at the same time. That’s about 30 seconds, or one or two sentences.

Grumbling and repeated warnings

Most moms know the situation early in the morning, when everyone is in a rush and needs help. For example, you have to check whether children have put all the books in the bag, prepare their lunchbox and much, much more. A child who seems to be distracted and unmotivated to pack and get ready in time is the greatest challenge for busy parents. Many of them feel that they can’t control the situation, and are desperately trying to do this with nagging, grumbling or criticism. The problem is that by doing so you actually teach children to ignore you, because soon they will already know that no matter what, you will act this way in any situation of disobedience.

The use of feelings of guilt and shame

One of the great lessons that each learns as a parent is that young children often do not have conscious empathy or attention to parents’ needs. These feelings develop gradually as they grow older, experiencing parental empathy towards themselves. Therefore, the expectation that young children can be in your shoes and look at some things with your eyes is somewhat unreasonable. When a child refuses to follow your instructions, it does not mean that she is frozen and uncaring or indifferent. She’s just being a kid, focused on the enjoyment here and now, as well as testing her borders and limits to see what is acceptable and what is not.

Unwillingness to listen to children

We all want to teach our children to respect others. The best way to do this is to show respectful and caring behavior in our own relationships. This will help your child understand the value of respect and empathy and teach effective communication skills. Often, attentive listening is the hardest thing for parents, because kids interrupt us all the time or our mind is concerned about many different things. In this case, it would be right to postpone the discussion and set another time for conversation, rather than to listen without full concentration or enthusiasm. However, remember that children find it difficult to wait for a long time, they want to be heard as soon as possible!

Raising children is a difficult job, in which we all make mistakes from time to time. Effective communication with our children takes time and energy. We must recognize our own feelings and automatic reactions and slow down enough to be able to have time to choose a more thoughtful and careful approach. Setting limitations and consequences for our children, listening carefully to them and giving them autonomy, we teach them to respect. Children who have parents who respect them, and who are consistent learn to regulate their emotions more effectively, better understand themselves, and build more successful relationships with others.

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