In the beginning, you and your baby listen to your music and watch whatever you put on TV. Life is relatively simple. But life changes as your child grows. Suddenly it feels like she is speaking a foreign language. What on earth is an IDK? Who is this Justin Bieber she keeps talking about? If you feel like the generation gap between you and your child just continues to grow, you can remain in the loop.
1. Watch What They Watch
A lot of what children learn these days comes from TV. Chances are your child and your child's friends are watching similar shows. Sit down and watch whatever they are watching. Not only does this help you stay up-to-date on what your child is interested in, but it also allows you to monitor what they are viewing to make sure it's appropriate. Furthermore, it's an easy way to bond and spend time together. This doesn't mean that you have to watch your child's shows as religiously as they do and never miss an episode. Simply do this a couple of times a week to stay on top of things.
Talk to your child daily about what's going on at school, how things are going with friends, their favorite music, favorite foods -- anything and everything. Don't just ask about them, but tell them about your life as well. Don't be afraid to share your views on issues. If you can, start this habit of frequent and open communication with your child while they are younger. Then it will only feel natural as they get older. If open communication channels aren't the norm for you and your child, ease into it. They might feel embarrassed or overwhelmed if you show sudden interest and start talking too much, so make the transition gradually until it starts to feel natural.
3. Be Reasonable
If you want your child to open up and feel comfortable with you, you need to be the type of person who is easy to open up to. You don't like talking to someone who is bossy, pushy, and doesn't let you get a word in edgewise, right? So why would your child? Keep a level head when expressing concerns and let your child give their side of the story. If you tell them "no" about something, are you doing so for a good reason? Have you explained your reasons clearly to your child? Being a reasonable parent will make it much easier for your child to let you into their life.
4. Use the Internet
The Internet is a tool for keeping up to date on the latest trends and can give insight to some of the things your child experiences every day. Stay current on events and don't be afraid to share them with your child. You can also look up slang words if your child is saying words you aren't familiar with. This can also help you keep your child safe as new Internet trends pop up because you will be aware of them and know your way around them. Don't be afraid to ask your child about websites you aren't familiar with and set firm guidelines for Internet use.
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