Share this story


Sheri Wohlfert

Tips for Positive, Loving Communication

April 17, 2023 | Good communication is key to a successful relationship and communicating poorly can lead to chaos, misunderstanding and frustration. When we consider all the voices our children hear from the world around them, it doesn’t take long to realize how important it is to make sure the voice of the ones who love them most should be heard above all the rest. As parents, we are in the business of helping our kids become saints, and that requires some great conversation. Here are some ideas that might help.

Priority one

Invest the time in daily conversation. Put the phone down and listen to what they have to say. If families are in the habit of daily conversation about everything from recess to calculus exams, good communication flows organically. If you aren’t in the habit of chatting together about the little things, it will be a challenge to tackle the big stuff.

Weave it in

Make conversation a part of the ordinary things like doing dishes together, carpool minutes or a bedtime chat before night prayers. Keep a list of silly questions or conversation starters handy for those times when conversation comes hard. Sometimes you need a way to lighten the mood and break the ice.

Notice things

Take time to drop one-line statements in passing. Statements such as, “I noticed you were really patient with your sister tonight” make a strong impression. You might be surprised what conversation  follows. You might also say something like, “I noticed you were pretty quiet during dinner and I was wondering if I could help with anything?” Even if the conversation doesn’t flow on the spot, they feel your connection and love. Be patient and loving; sometimes things take a while to percolate.

Wonder and advice

Kids don’t always need our advice and opinion. Sometimes they just want to be heard, and very often hearing themselves out loud is therapeutic in itself. Unless they ask specifically, it can often be more helpful to ask “I wonder” questions instead of telling them what they should do. “I wonder what would happen if the teacher found out” or “I wonder how you would feel if someone said that about you” offer kids the opportunity to think about things from another perspective and develop empathy, which has a more long-lasting effect than simply telling them what to do or say to solve the problem.

Get to the root

Especially in conversations involving conflict, get to the root emotion. Is it anger, embarrassment, frustration or jealousy? Let your kids know you are a safe place to process; it’s not our job to tell them how to feel but rather to help them work through those feelings appropriately.

Power communicating

These are the most powerful words with which we can communicate with our children: How can I pray for you? We also have an obligation to help our children learn to communicate well, which is truly the work of the Holy Spirit, so frequently invite the Holy Spirit to be a part of your conversations.

Final thought

Always, always, always remember the necessity of truth spoken in love. Subscribe to that notion and help your children do the same. The world is full of hurtful words and conversations … don’t allow them to be a part of your relationships.

 


Sheri Wohlfert is a Catholic school teacher, speaker, writer and founder of Joyful Words Ministries. Sheri blogs at www.joyfulwords.org.