To increase the opportunities for quality communication—the kind where a parent and child can truly share heartfelt emotions and concerns in a trusting relationship—consider the following ideas:
For a young child who is going to bed at night, spend some time quietly whispering in his or her ear about the importance of godly, moral actions. Praise the child for his or her good behavior that day. The time before children go to sleep is often a reflective period when they will reveal their thoughts and ask important questions.
Even teens and young adults will sometimes want to talk about the important issues in their lives just before going to bed. While whispering in their ears is no longer necessary, having the talk is. Wise parents won't forgo this opportunity when it comes.
For older children, it may be necessary to first spend some time doing an activity the child enjoys. This is a case of priming the pump; parents spend the time with their children showing them that they love them, and then, once assured of their parents' love, children share what they are thinking.
Parents have to be careful to respect older children's privacy. It doesn't generally work very well for parents to demand that a child reveal his or her emotions and thoughts. And sometimes children have no great secret thoughts about life to share. Quality time is natural and occurs because of trust and respect.