Ensure Effective Communication with Children

Social Worker Resource
June 6, 2013 — 2,120 views  
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Communicating with children is sometimes considered more difficult for adults because kids do not have the long term, logical development of the adult mind; however, certain successful social workers are using the differences between the minds of children and adults to increase the flow of information between kids and adults in situations in which it is necessary such as school, athletic events and other social situations. Below are just a few techniques used by social workers and psychologists to get underneath that wall that kids may throw up.

One - Use Cultural References from the Child's Point of View

One of the easiest ways to get a child to open up is to show knowledge of the child's culture. Putting a discussion in the form of a song lyric from a famous pop singer or using the latest Internet meme to accentuate a point works wonders for communicating with children.

Two - Talk to Kids in the Format That They Use

Kids today use the Internet more to talk than ever before. Direct face to face communication, especially with an intimidating professional adult that is a stranger to the child, can seem quite overwhelming to a child of the current generation. When that takes place, the child is likely to "troll" the professional, or put forth fake feelings in the hopes of triggering a response. The way to break past the troll mentality is to communicate with the child along the same lines of communication that the child already uses, i.e. text, social media such as Facebook and Tumblr and short memes and sound bites.

Three - Stay in Constant Contact

In order for a child to trust an adult, especially a professional, that child must have a great deal of contact with that person. There is so much information from so many different media sources that are coming into a child's life through the Internet that the messages from medical professionals can quickly become lost. To counter this, the best strategy is simply to up the frequency of those communications.

Four - The Adult Must be Truthful and Revealing as Well

Kids today are a great deal more savvy and challenging to adults, especially when they sense a weakness or hypocrisy in the argument of an adult. Adults today cannot afford to be anything less than completely truthful with kids today. As a matter of fact, many kids will relate more to adults who had the same problems as kids as they do now.

Five - Less Formality

The less formal that any meeting with a medical or psychological professional can be, the better. Suits and ties do not necessarily bring with them a sense of authority to kids any more. What is more important is a direct connection with the problems of the child, thoughtful listening and effective solutions as well as giving the child a sense of safety. These things come from the communication techniques mentioned above rather than any kind of suit or uniform.

Social Worker Resource