Research suggests that the single most important thing that parents could do with their child is to effectively communicate with him/her.
Effective communication is based on an exchange of thoughts in a nonthreatening manner. Thus, if a parent communicates effectively with his/her child, (s)he must allow the child to disclose her feelings and emotions in a safe and secure way.
Here are a few ways that you could communicate effectively with your child:
1. Treat your child respectfully by not screaming or raising your voice to her or call her names. When you scream at your child, (s)he may think that you don't love them unconditionally. Screaming can also hamper open and honest communication with your child.
2. Try to understand your child by actively listening to him/her. Devote all of your attention to the discussion at hand. You may want to turn off the television or stop cooking and give your child your complete attention.
3. Be as empathic as possible when you are communicating with your child, even if you think that (s)he is making a wrong decision. Empathy shows your child that you really care about her and that you're really on their side.
4. Resist giving negative criticism and total disapproval all the time. Praise your child as much as possible. Negative criticism can give your child inferiority complex over time, making her hypercritical of herself. This can lead to many serious difficulties later on, such as the pressure to over achieve.
5. Negotiate as much as possible with your child. If your child doesn't want to do what you think is in her best interest, it is important that you allow her to have her way once in a while. However, don't give in to her all the time either. Try and strike a balance.
6. Be open to discussing how your child feels on a consistent basis by spending quality time with your child. You may want to spend a half an hour after dinner every evening talking to your child. Your child may have some strange views about different things. Try not to criticize all of her views but only some of the more important ones.
7. Try to open honest lines of communication with your child on a consistent basis by discussing options in a friendly and non-adversarial manner. You can do this by allowing your child think of different ways of behaving in certain situations.
8. Practice empathic and honest methods of communication as often as possible. Try not to have too many slips in communication since every time there is a slip, you will be sending your child the wrong message.
Effective communication can be difficult to bring about at first. However, with patience and hard work you can instill proper communication habits in your child. You'll be very glad that you did.