Conflict Resolution And Connection:
Most often, the primary point of contention between children and parents occurs because of a breakdown of communication. But, before we express how we feel about their behavior and the rules they’re breaking, we have to connect with them first.
The alternative to not connecting before communicating is dangerous. Being dismissive and condescending about their troubles and anxieties may lead to children withdrawing themselves from parents. In the worst case, they will push back for intruding into their business because you’re being judgmental. And, since everyone craves connection, they will begin to reach out more to their peers.
“Regular, quality interactions with parents — talking, listening, singing, reading and playing together — fuel children’s language development and their acquisition of communication skills. And for children to get the brain food they need, parents need to be able to notice and respond to coos, smiles, eye contact and, later on, words, facial expressions, gestures and emotions. With hours less of these interactions each day, a child’s foundation for communication and social development is weakened, potentially impacting school readiness and creating a ripple effect throughout that child’s life.”
~ Theresa H. Rodgers, president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
Have Difficult Conversations:
After making a solid connection with your kids, it’s important to introduce deep conversations once in a while. Once every few days, ask your children how their life is. Humanize yourself and share your own daily struggles, of course, as much is age appropriate for them.
The problem is we want to shelter them from hard conversations and once they go to college, that’s when they start learning about how hard life really is. And that doesn’t have to be the case.
Share a little of their youthful idealism – The idea that they would conquer the world and nothing is impossible! And at the same time, tell them to expect roadblocks along their way to their goals. After all, it’s our duty as caregivers to plant the seeds of love, connection and hope – along with a little caution.
Teenagers And Talking:
Teenagers don’t want to talk because they fear judgement and negative consequences from their parents about their thoughts, behaviors and actions. That’s why it’s extremely stressful for teens to open up about their lives to us.
Talk to your teens about what they observe in school and outside in the world. Do they see inequality and disparities? How do they plan to help address those issues when they grow up? Talk and acknowledge things that you’ve learnt in the course of your own lifetime, that social justice issues exist and so do discrimination and stigma around discussing things openly.
Read more HERE.
Kinds Of Conversations:
One of the most difficult conversations we can have with our children, other than puberty, is about adult content they might come across on the internet. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. I simply told my boys when they were around 12, that not everyone in the real world look like the people they might see on those videos – that is, if they ever come across that type of content.
Unfortunately, the average age is now 10 at which children are being exposed to porn on the internet. So, we might as well prepare ourselves and our children about it.
Benefits Of Having Difficult Conversations:
Difficult conversations have the potential to alter relationships. And, only if we’re open to changing our perspective and outlook, both parties can benefit from understanding how things are the way they are.
Moreover, its better our children get an idea of the evil that is out there in the world. Of course whenever it is age appropriate, the discussion has to be brought up. Life is not just a Disney movie with no blood and not even a minute amount of unpleasantness. That kind of stuff is completely out of touch with reality.
When teens understand that there can be many different opinions about a single issue, they are less afraid to put forward their point. They feel more liberated to act in challenging circumstances, more self-assured, and possess a higher sense of integrity and self-respect. They also discover that, more often than not, handling difficult subjects and hard circumstances constructively enriches a connection.
And that’s a chance that’s too excellent to miss. And the best thing, they realize that every one of us has had to deal with these kind of topics in their life and that they’re not alone.
Does all this mean, that we will be able to future proof our children’s lives? Not even by a small fraction. But, these uncomfortable conversations can help children understand that there’s a big world out there with a lot of different people with lot of different agendas.
These conversations are just seeds we can plant in their heads, and in due time, these will sprout into ideas in tough times. Our discussions will be the voices in their heads that will help them to feel calm.
Will we be able to protect them at all times? Again, not by a long shot. But, our duty is to only instruct instead of implement, listen instead of advice and breathe through our discomfort of seeing them weeding through life.
Commonsense Media has some more specific ideas on how to talk to kids about difficult conversations. Find the resource HERE.
Be Prepared to Have the Difficult Conversations:
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About The Article Author:
I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté.
Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like.
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents
The A to Z Of Life Skills
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