Creative Child

Communicating Positively with Children

by Rebecca Eanes



Try to see things from your child’s perspective. When we dismiss or reject our children’s feelings, opinions, and ideas with “it’s not that bad,” “there’s no need to be upset,” “that’s a silly idea,” or “that’ll never work,” they feel invalidated. That shuts down communication. Empathy not only helps us communicate our thoughts to others in a way that makes sense to them, but it allows our children to feel heard and understood.


Being in tune with and in charge of your emotions and being able to regulate before you respond is key to positive communication. When you are able to remain calm and positive and refrain from attacks and saying something you might regret later, you model true maturity to your child. Plus, with no threat of an outburst from you, your child will feel comfortable opening up to you about bigger and tougher things.


Clear, direct, assertive communication means you express your feelings, needs, and desires effectively, while respecting the rights of others. Being assertive is a necessary parenting skill. Aggressiveness puts children on the defensive, and passiveness gives children a disproportionate amount of control.

When you communicate assertively, use “I” statements, discuss your feelings, and give reasoning for your boundaries or rules. While being assertive, always keep your child’s feelings, needs, and wants in mind. This builds mutual respect. Teach your child how to communicate assertively as well as it's an important skill to have.

Positive Parenting Positive Communication

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Giving a child the cold shoulder, not speaking to him, rolling your eyes, scowling, and withholding affection when a child displeases you is not modeling good communication skills. While we must correct poor behavior, be careful not to communicate conditional love as that damages a child’s self-esteem and breaks down the connection.


It’s unlikely that you’ll communicate effectively when your reptilian brain is lit up. Wait until you are calm and rational before confronting your child. Try saying, “We need to talk about this soon. First, I need to calm down.”


Honestly, I’m not sure if there is such a thing as constructive criticism. Criticism is always painful as it is a direct attack. Rather than criticize, describe what needs to be done. Instead of “your room is always a mess,” say “I need you to clean your room by this afternoon.” When you focus on what you want done in the future, rather than on what your child did wrong in the past, you’re much more likely to have a positive outcome.

Use these guidelines for effective, positive communication. When you model these strategies, your children will also begin to use them in not just communication with you, but with others in the future. 

Related Article: Positive Strategies for Better Behaved Kids

Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the bestselling author of 3 books. Her newest book,Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, is more than a parenting book, it's a guide to human connection. She has also written The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parentingand co-authored the book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early ChildhoodShe is the grateful mother to 2 boys.


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