22 u Ask open-ended questions that require more than one-word answers. Instead of “How was school?” say “Tell me about your day” or “What’s that book about?” u For there to be genuine and effective communication, there must be an honest exchange of thoughts, opinions, and ideas. You may not always agree with the thoughts and ideas your child shares with you, but interrupting to scold or lecture may cause your child to shut down, or to only tell you what he/she thinks you want to hear. u Tell your child what you want done, instead of what you don’t want done. For example, instead of saying “Don’t leave your backpack on the couch” say “Please put your backpack in your room.” u At this age, children often begin to challenge their parents’author- ity. Your child may at times respond to commands or requests in a tone of voice that’s less than pleasant. Chalk this up to moodiness or rebellion. The important thing is that your child does what you say. Always expecting him/her to be happy about it may be too much to ask. u Although children may act like they don’t hear a thing their parents have to say, they do listen. They listen to the words, and also to their parents’tone of voice. Children need to hear that their parents have faith in them, and that their parents love them unconditionally. u Whenchildrenseemdownorupset,often a hug or a few words of encouragement are all they need. If you sense that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, let your child know that you’re concerned. If you need help, talk to your child’s teacher, counselor, or physician. Last, but certainly not least, keep your sense of humor.