One of parents main goals is to improve communication in the home. Unfortunately, what they really mean is they want the child to “listen” to them and cooperate with their “instructions.” Communication is two-way. It requires parents to listen as well as be listened to. More importantly, parents cannot judge or shame a child’s efforts to communicate when they express their opinions. Either you value communication or your don’t. Back up your values with your actions. The good news is that communication doesn’t need to be learned. It needs to be protected. If parents will allow their children to talk and feel heard then they will talk more. If parents allow conversation to be two-sided and value their children’s thoughts, even if is immature and irrational, then parents will have the opportunity to “speak into” their child’s life. Don’t waste time lecturing, criticizing or showing children the error of their thoughts. That shuts down communication FAST! Try this talk tool the next time your child opens up. Say: “That is interesting. Tell me more!” and just listen…