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Talk to me about you

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It was not intended that Funke would walk in on the conversation. Tired and understandably irritated she took her shoes off as she climbed the stairs to her apartment. She froze however as she heard her daughter’s voice, “I think she hates me, she is always gossiping about me to daddy”. Her hands flew to her mouth to suppress the gasp and she froze. The voice that answered was that of Melinda, her close friend. Funke waited to hear her response but Melinda had stiffened so ran down the stairs silently put her shoes back on and made a noisy entrance. Her heart was beating very fast but she desperately tried to keep a straight face as she made a ceremony of opening the door.
Temi, her daughter was in tears as she stared at her mother too horrified by the knowledge that her sentence had been heard. She made an attempt to fly to the bedroom but Funke dragged her back and into her arms. “I didn’t mean that Mum”

Generally they don’t mean that truly. It takes an extreme act of abuse before your child will say that about you. But it is a warning sign, to let you check your communication strategies. We always state that every parent was once a child, sometimes looking into yesterday may help us understand today as we plan for tomorrow.
Let me share some tips for effective listening:
1.Be attentive when you listen to your child and maintain eye contact. It is discouraging to a child if you look away or text while the child is talking
2. Show signs that you are listening, nod, make sounds that you are paying close attention
3. Whatever you hear, never show horror or disgust, or even contempt, you will not get a chance again.
4. Don’t look bored, yawn, look at your wrist watch or at the door. Give your child total attention. Let your child know that the moment is vitally important to you.
5.Ask question for clarification, don’t pretend you have all the answers, it works better if you offer to research the question for more answers. That moment is vital and give that quality time all the importance it deserves.
6. Children appreciate being able to have the opportunity to expreee how they feel. Time to talk is the best teachable moment you can have to let your child know what you hope for with them.
7. Don’t yell or scream or order. Telling your child that he/she is headed for the darkest part of hell for an infringement makes the child rebellious and creates a most negative effect.
8.Show empathy and acceptance, it is your opportunity to guide the thoughts and dreams. Your child gains confidence and trusts both you and himself

Dialogue is always a better option, be prepared to allow your child to tell you those things you have said that has been hurtful and confusing. Your child needs to know that he/she is learning to be a viable individual in the community and you are willing to invest in the moral growth of your child.
Show faith and trust in that child and be willing to defend values, your values.
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