How to Nurture Trusting Dialogue with Your Child and Develop Your Child’s Ability to Make Sound Decisions Independently

  • Promotes appropriate behavior
  • Is the basis of positive parent-child interactions and high self-esteem in children
  • Prevents problematic behavior
  • Helps children understand how to interact effectively with others

Begin to foster a child’s ability to make sound and independent decisions as soon as they are old enough to talk to you. By the age of 12, your child should be able to make sound decisions, for the most part. Your goal is for them to be able to assess a situation, apply values, morals and problem solving skills that they have observed you use and you have talked to them about. This skill set needs to be acquired during elementary school and long before college!

Burdening a child with endless rules for the sake of rules is not good parenting and doesn’t promote dialogue. If you’re in this category, consider if you are mimicking your own, perhaps unhealthy, childhood. This should not be confused with establishing reasonable boundaries and rules that are core to your family’s values.

Include a child in consultation and decision making processes, even if it’s not a decision involving them. Let a child “listen” to your thought process.

Dinner time is a great time for dialogue! Make dinner time a positive and fun experience. Don’t use this time to be critical. Don’t underestimate the joy of laughter during dialogue!

Seat children at the adult table if guests/family are invited to dinner so they can observe and learn rather than banishing them to another table or room.

Create times with your child where dialogue is easy and not forced (i.e. walking the dog, working on a car engine). This can be fun!

Develop and nurture dialogue with your child to maintain a life-long enjoyment of each other!