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Possible Causes of Poor Communication

If you are having difficulty communicating with your child, see if the problem might lie in one of these areas.

  • Do one or both of you do a poor job of interpreting the mes­sages of the other?
  • Is there a poor fit between the communication styles or tem­peraments of parent and child?
  • Do you have communication shortcomings that turn your child off? For instance, middle-years children sometimes complain that their parents talk over their heads, nag, become judgmen­tal, do not make an effort to understand their youngster's point of view, or interrupt them constantly. If these sound like famil­iar complaints, you may have to work on your own listening and talking skills.
  • Does your child have attention-span problems that may make it difficult for her to concentrate long enough to receive a mes­sage? Is she too impulsive, and does she talk before she thinks? If you have these problems, there is a chance your child may have them too.
  • Does your youngster have a memory deficit, perhaps related to her attention problems, in which messages are received so su­perficially that they do not get placed into her memory? Or do memory problems prevent her from knowing what to say or finding the right phrase, or make her just a bit late with a re­sponse? Keep in mind that worry and sadness can interfere with attention and memory.
  • Does your child have language or speech disabilities that make it hard for her to understand what you are saying, or to express her own ideas and thoughts in words? Or does she stutter or have another speech problem that makes it difficult for her to communicate verbally?
  • Do you or your child have other worries, stresses, or preoccu­pations that may be interfering with your communication?
  • Are you choosing the right time and place to communicate?
  • Does the pace or intensity of the conversation overwhelm your child's ability to listen and respond?
Last Updated
Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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