Disobedience, back-talking

Your children won’t cooperate when you tell them to do something.

Parents feel like their children don’t know how to express their feelings in appropriate ways.

Children feel like they have nothing to say to their parents.

Do these problems sound familiar to you? How can you resolve these issues?

Today we will share some techniques you can use to improve communication with your children.


Common misconceptions in parent-child relationships

① Parents think that incessant lecturing is the only way to interact with their children.

② Parents bring a lot of unresolved emotional problems that can be very damaging to their children.

③ Parents feel that the only thing they need to do to build a close relationship with their children is to spend lots of time with them.

④ Parents can be too eager to express their thoughts to listen to their children actively.

We will talk about strategies that can strengthen the parent-child bond.


1.Accurate Empathy
To empathize fully with your child, you need to get to know your child and show them that you are understanding where they come from and seeing things from their perspective. This is paramount if you would like to keep the conversation flowing with your child.

2.Active Listening
The only way to truly understand your child’s thoughts and feelings is to listen to them attentively. That way, you can hear not only the words that your child is saying but, more importantly, the complete message being communicated. After you observed and listened to your child’s feelings, you can reflect them back in ways that lets him know that you are “with him”, ware of what he is saying, accepting of his perspective, and appreciative of his situation. These active and reflective listening skills can help you maintain a positive attitude and open mind, allowing you to talk and listen to your child without being judgmental.

3. Designing Rituals for Better Communication
To make conversations with your children more substantial, meaningful, and engaging, we need to make time for some memorable occasions that could provide a space for in-depth interactions with them. Choosing a calm, relaxing, comfortable, private, and carefully arranged environment to communicate with your child will make him feel valued and cared for.

4. Demonstrate Vulnerability with Your Kids
Sometimes, sharing your hurt, pain, and age-appropriate stories of your hardship with your kids can be a great way to connect more deeply with them, as they will understand you more.

5.Structure Your Day to Minimize Stress
Anxiety stems from living a chaotic life that gets people stuck in a cycle of stress and worry as they feel out of control with various things. To cope with stay-at-home mandates that can be mentally and emotionally taxing, we need to build structure into our days by maintaining regular routines. Making a regular schedule can be conducive to our mental well-being since it can help us retain a sense of normalcy and focus through tough times. For parents, it is highly recommended that you create daily routines with your children and help them follow a schedule while you organize your day for maximum health and productivity. This suggestion comes in handy when your child seems glued to his phone. A helpful tip you can use to help your child unplug from screens is to have fun with them by doing enjoyable family activities together.


6.Setting Healthy Boundaries with Your Children
The stress from the COVID-19 pandemic makes parent-child relationships more challenging to manage in that they are less able to withstand even the most trivial of problems. It is strongly suggested that parents maintain consistency at home and foster an atmosphere that promotes safety and calmness. Parents can implement this strategy by creating a spot where they can work efficiently and without distractions. Setting boundaries with your children means explaining that ‘working from home’ means ‘working.’

You can emphasize that your children cannot disturb you during the working day and reward the good behavior, even if you have to throw in the odd bribe here and there. Your children can do their part by staying focused and engaged during online classes and keeping their rooms clean and organized. Taking these measures to preserve your boundaries will provide you and your children the freedom to live your own lives, the space to grow as a person, and the means to remain connected to one another.


7.Lead by Example
Kids are always perfect mirrors for their parents. Children kept at home due to the pandemic will always be watching and listening. They will be more attuned than ever to your words and how you handle situations and interact with other people. They can also intuit our thought processes more effectively than before.

Therefore, we not only need to keep ourselves positive during the pandemic, but we also have to promote resilience in our children by creating a caring, warm, and loving environment for them.


8.How to Word Things in Ways that Make Your Children more Receptive
When discussing various things with your children, you need to put the most critical points in your first sentence. That way, you can express your ideas clearly and concisely.

When communicating with your children, you should use eight sentences to validate your children’s feelings to let them know you understand them. Being understood is an essential ingredient to feeling loved and supported. You can end the conversation with your children on a good note by using the remaining time to mention any important information you want to get across.


We will give you some more pointers on nurturing your relationship with your children in the future.  If you have any other questions or concerns, you can seek mental health support by using the following resources.

During this challenging time of online learning, the school counseling center dedicates a plethora of resources and energy to meet students’ mental health needs. If you or your children have any questions or concerns, you can contact your children’s homeroom teachers or make an appointment with a counselor by scanning the QR code below.

In addition to the counseling services offered by our school, you can also call the Shanghai Psychological Counseling Hotline, and its phone number is 962525. Another option is the Pudong District Adolescent Mental Health Education and Development Center, and the number you can dial is 4008206235. These are two additional ways to obtain more specialized support for yourself and your children.