Good communication with almost anyone--your husband or wife, boss, coworkers, children, parents, or friends--depends on a few basic principles of people handling. Learn these, and you will be well on the way to happy, productive relationships.
Honesty. Good communication is built on mutual respect, and respect depends on honesty.
Tact. It's important to be honest, but it's also important to be loving and considerate in your presentation, especially when the subject could be sensitive.
Wisdom. Wisdom is what helps you be tactful.
Love. When children feel loved or cared for, it puts everything else in proper perspective. You may not do or say everything right, but if your kids see that you are motivated by love, little problems or misunderstandings won't become big ones.
Positiveness. Being upbeat usually elicits a positive response. Encouragement and sincere compliments are always appreciated.
Timing. Knowing when to say something is often as important as knowing what to say. "A wise man's heart discerns both time and judgment" (Ecclesiastes 8:5).
Sensitivity. It's not good to be so sensitive to your own needs that your feelings are easily hurt, but it is good to be sensitive to your children’s likes and dislikes, needs, and moods.
Open-Mindedness. People's opinions and the way they approach problems are as different as the people themselves. Turning off your thoughts and being quiet long enough to let your children express their feelings conveys respect and fosters positive, fruitful exchanges. Your children will be much more at ease with you and more likely to turn to you for advice if they know you will be open to what they have to say, even if you don't agree.
Empathy. Put yourself in the your child’s position and try to understand the feelings that are behind what he or she is saying.
Patience. It's sometimes hard to listen to what children have to say without interrupting, trying to hurry them along, or finishing their sentences for them, but it's a way of showing love and respect, which pay off.
A Sense of Humor. A little laughter can be just the thing to keep potentially difficult exchanges from getting too intense. Lighten up!
Approachability. The dictionary defines approachability as "invitingly friendly; easy to talk to."
Clarity. There would be a lot fewer misunderstandings between people if they didn't beat around the bush or rely so much on hints. Don't leave your kids guessing; say what you mean. If you're not sure they understand your point, ask them.
Effort. Sometimes communicating is plain hard work--but the rewards are worth it!
Consistency. Parents and children who communicate regularly understand each other better and are more likely to be able to work through problems when they come up.
Original article courtesy of Activated magazine. Used with permission.