Barriers to Communication With Parents

by Erica Loop

    Parents communicate with an array of individuals, in relation to their children, on a seemingly daily basis. From teachers and day care providers to pediatricians and other medical experts, communication between parents and professionals is a two-way street that is sometimes littered with barriers. Likewise, communication with the child himself is often fraught with barriers that parents must negotiate regularly.

    Teachers

    Talking to a parent about her child isn't always easy for a teacher. While effective communication is a vital part of the educational process, sometimes barriers that exist between the parents and teachers can turn into an academic obstacle. According to the Scholastic Teachers website, without clear communication between parents and teachers, misunderstandings may abound. These barriers may include time issues such as the parent's or the teacher's schedule for availability to talk, mistrust on behalf of either person, limited resources to get to conferences or other sites of communication, or lack of interest.

    Medical Professionals

    From the pediatrician to the school nurse, communicating with medical professionals is a fact of life for many parents. If you feel that communication with your little one's doctor isn't up to par, you aren't alone. According to a 2007 national survey by the American Academy of Pediatrics, pediatricians reported common barriers to effective communication with parents, including time constraints when presenting information, too much or too high a volume of information to give at one time and the complexity of information in terms of the parent's understanding.

    Young Children

    Although talking to other adults such as teachers and doctors is necessary, communicating effectively with your child is a central part of parenting. Communicating with your young child in preschool or grade school often has its own unique barriers. The child development website KidsHealth notes that parents shouldn't have the expectation that children will respond to what mom and dad dictates. The inability for parents to provide some give and take in terms of a communication strategy can easily become a barrier to understanding and learning. Additionally, other barriers to communication between parents and younger kids include muddy or unclear expectations (on behalf of the parents), a lack of choices, failure to consider the child's suggestions as viable possibilities or failure to offer concrete consequences.

    Teens

    The teen, and to some extent pre-teen, years are a prime breeding ground for communication barriers between adults and kids. According to KidsHealth, adolescents and parents may butt heads in the child's effort to assert his growing independence. This can quickly cause a communication barrier in which the child refuses to listen to, or take under advisement, much of what the parent says. Another aspect of poor communication between parents and teens is fear or anxiety when touchy subjects arise. These may include issues dealing with dating, sex, bodily changes, drug and alcohol use or even friends.

    About the Author

    Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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