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Conversing with Your Child

The rewards of open and honest dialogue

Even now, all those years ago, I remember the morning my sixth grade teacher told us: “there is no such thing as a silly question. Not asking a question is silly. To ask a question is a sign of intelligence and a willingness to learn.” Those words have stuck with me throughout my life – such a simple statement but so very true.

I believe the key to developing a child’s mind and expressive self is to encourage an open and honest dialogue. A question like, “why is the colour yellow called yellow?” can invite an exciting conversation about art or nature and where the names of colours first originated.

If we as parents, dismiss these questions as insignificant (or silly!), we are ultimately dismissing the child’s intellectual processes. Such a denial can make a child reluctant to ask for advice and prevent them from making their own intelligent choices in the future.

Discipline and freedom – getting the balance right

As I say in my last blog post, ‘those who would deny children the right to express themselves through their appearance are not recognising their right to self-expression.’

Too often, children are underestimated and the assumption that they should think, react and behave the same as their elders is regularly imposed upon them. No matter the age, we are all unique and deserve the opportunity to communicate this, whether it be creatively or otherwise.

Teaching and guiding them through information and welcoming their own alternate ideas allows a child to feel like a valued member not just of the family but of society too.

I’m not suggesting they ‘man the ship’ – after all, we’re the adults in the situation and we need to be sure the conclusion reached is in the best interest of all parties involved. But I do feel that discussing rather than dictating creates a happy and positive parent/child relationship.

What our kids can teach us

I’ve learnt a lot from children’s questions. A young mind has yet to construct those sociological boundaries that we, over the years, have built around our own thoughts. Children offer us a brilliant insight into non-restricted world observations.

By sharing moments of discovery with our children we are creating wonderful memories that will last forever. By attentively answering their sometimes obscure but always relevant questions, we are respecting their opinions, feeding their brains, and building their self-confidence.

In return, you will have a child that respects and loves you for being the parent that listens and energises their conversations. What more can a parent ask for than that?

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