Some kids will open up about their day right away, others may need to decompress or won’t want to talk about it at all.
GREENSBORO, NC – Some kids will talk about their day as soon as they get home from school while others may need to decompress or not want to talk about it at all. In today’s 2 Your Well-being, we’re talking about communication for a successful school year.
Dr. Jenna Mendelson is a Registered Clinical Psychologist with LeBauer HealthCare. She said communication really depends on your child. Some will almost feel the need to talk about their day while others will need time to decompress and process before they are ready to talk.
Dr Mendelson said some children may have trouble expressing their thoughts or feelings and trying to answer open-ended questions can be overwhelming. For kids going through this, Dr Mendelson said start with smaller questions instead of how your day went. It could be, what did you do at recess or tell me more about your teacher. Give them questions that will lead to more information.
So what if your child’s day isn’t going well? Having a bad day is normal, but there are signs that something more could be happening like bullying. Dr Mendelson said the signs include if your child is angry or irritable after school or even lashing out. Also avoiding going to school, such as pretending to be sick, is a huge sign that something more is going on.
Dr Mendelson said that another great way to communicate is to be an active listener, not a reactive listener. This means that when you and your child have these kinds of great conversations, you give them your undivided attention. You can do this by giving them short, non-judgmental responses, like nodding or saying oh. It shows your child that you are listening but not judging them. Sometimes when kids open up, adults have great emotional responses to what they might say. Dr. Mendelson recommends that you don’t let these feelings come up with your child right away as much as possible. This is where it is good to prepare emotionally as an adult before entering into these kinds of conversations.