(HealthDay News) — Maintaining open communication between you and your child increases the likelihood that the child will come to you in times of need.

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The American Psychological Association suggests ways to do this:

  • Take note of when the child is more open to conversation, for example, when in the car, before dinner or at bedtime.
  • Start the conversation, showing that you have an interest in the child’s life.
  • Share what you have been thinking about, rather than just asking questions.
  • Stop whatever you are doing when the child starts to talk about his or her concerns.
  • Don’t be intrusive, and listen to the child’s point of view.
  • Always allow your child to finish talking before you respond.
  • Respond to your child in a way that doesn’t appear angry or defensive.
  • Agree to disagree and express your opinion without putting down the child.
  • Focus on your child’s feelings instead of your own during the conversation.
  • Ask your child what he or she needs from you.

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