How to Talk with Your Children


Every child loves to hear stories in which he or she is the hero or heroine. Telling stories to your child vali­dates your child’s existence. It conveys, “I remember this about you. You are important enough for me to remember things you said and did, and things you now say and do.”

Tell your child about the funny things he or she said or did as a baby or toddler. Give your child an opportu­nity to laugh at his or her creativity and wit. Make cer­tain, of course, that you never laugh at your child, only with him or her.

Tell about times when your child did things that were especially endearing—the tender kiss that your child gave to her grandmother when she saw Grandma in a wheelchair for the first time, or the way your child of­fered a favorite toy to a visiting friend who was sad to see her mother leave. Give children opportunities to see themselves as giving and unselfish.

Tell about times when your child did something that took courage. Tell your child about the brave way he or she walked into the kindergarten classroom the first time. Tell the story of the cat rescued from under the tool shed. Give your son or daughter opportunity to be the hero or heroine.

Stories are an excellent way to praise your child’s abilities, even as you tell about your child’s accomplish­ments. “I remember the time when you were only four-teen-months-old and you walked down the front stairs taking one giant step after another. You always were extremely well coordinated. It’s no wonder to me now that you excel at sports.”

Interweave what you perceive to be the child’s out­standing talents and inherent abilities with a story that exemplifies those traits—and watch the glow!

Tell your child stories that show how your child may have inherited the qualities of respected family mem­bers. Give your child a positive sense of family heri­tage. “On the night we brought home your puppy, I found you fast asleep next to your puppy’s box; your arm was right next to the puppy inside the box, and the puppy was curled up against your hand. You had heard the puppy crying and had gone to its side to pet it and let it know it wasn’t alone. That reminded me of the night you were asleep on your father’s chest as he sat sound asleep in the living room rocker. It seems to me you have your father’s soft heart for innocent creatures in need of comfort. I hope you never lose that quality.”

Positive stories of your child’s childhood give your son or daughter a sense of continuity within and linkage to the lives of others he or she considers important. Such tales convey a sense of parental stability, faithful­ness, and steadfastness to a child.

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About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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