Communication: Breaking Down the Walls -
Parenting is hard, unrewarding at times, and stretches you in ways you did not think you could be stretched. There are times when you see why you decided to become a parent when there is peace, happiness, and love in your home. Then there are parenting moments in your when you feel like a failure and want to run away to a tropical island paradise to get away from it all. I want to say to you, congratulations! You are doing one of the most difficult jobs this world has to offer.
Even though parenting is a difficult job; it does not mean it is an impossible job. Ineffective communication in any relationship can be detrimental to the success of that relationship. As I have worked with adolescences and young adults over the past 10 years, barriers in communication is the most common concern with parents.
The breakdown of effective communication occurs when the power struggle of control happens where both sides (the parent and the child) desire control in the conversation. Adolescents and young adults like to push up against and try to maneuver around every barrier in their way. This is a normal part of development where the adolescent/young adult is developing their independence as a person and hence practicing becoming an adult and how to communicate successfully. Walls get built up on both sides and it is difficult trying to communicate with a wall! These are some ways to help either side break down those walls that are built that get in the way of effectively communicating.
- Create a safe and peaceful environment
- Effective communication cannot occur amid chaos, stress, confusion, raising of voices, anger, and power struggles for control.
- Put away all electronic devices
- You are not getting on an airplane, but you are having a conversation. It may feel unnatural at first, but eye contact and minimizing distractions are key to establishing a connection.
- Acknowledge that there are walls
- Come from a place of love and honesty about the past or mistakes made.
- Ask questions, listen, give your feedback/advice, ask what they think about what you have said, and then listen
- This is how you make a request rather than a demand.
- End the conversation with love
- This will help with keeping those walls from being built in the future.
Start today by trying to break the walls that get in the way of communicating effectively with your child. Let them practice with you; their parent who loves them and wants the very best for them in this world.