Open communication in parenting
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Open communication in parenting

Open communication in parenting

Open communication in parenting  – by Nicky Rasmin, Parenting Coach and Mum to teens. 

As parents, we have all had days when the eye rolls, stomping feet and slamming doors had spoken  louder than any words.  

Some days the term ‘communication’ with teenagers can feel like an oxymoron. The grunts, the  groans, eye rolls and slamming doors often speak far louder than words. So how can we as parents  start to create a culture of open communication with our teenage kids?  

This year in lockdown and with restrictions on our movement and social activities, we have been geographically closer than ever to our children. And yet, I know I am not the only parent of teens  who had days feeling like we were galaxies apart. How can we be so close and yet so disconnected? 

Every human, especially every teen, needs to feel they belong and feel empowered to make  decisions. They need to feel connected. It is an essential need in our psyche. Unfortunately, if teens don’t feel listened to or feel like they belong, they muck up for attention or withdraw to their rooms  and devices. And unfortunately for us as parents, your teen’s device offers plenty of short-lived,  albeit sometimes shallow, opportunities to feel connected and part of something.  We have to provide a reliable and viable alternative.  

It is easy to get swept up in the challenge of working from home and home-schooling, leading to  boundaries blurring around family time. What is quality family time if you’ve already spent the day  together as a family? What is home time if you never leave the house? 

The ‘secret sauce’ is in creating boundaries around sacred time and seizing opportunities for  connection. And that takes conscious effort.  

We need to start mindfully listening to our teens when we spend time with them. Try setting aside  time, blocking it in your calendar, to sit and have snacks and meals together. Set your phone aside (on silent) and ask open questions starting with ‘What’ that encourage more extended, developed  answers. Try responding directly to what they are saying. Get curious about what is important to  them.  

If they don’t respond, then persevere. It may take time to reset expectations and trust.  

Set simple boundaries around no devices at the dinner table and suggest family movie nights or  games nights to add variety to your lives and mutual subjects to discuss. You might disagree, but at  least you are sharing opinions! And remember, you don’t have to be correct, and you don’t have to  say the last word. Instead, this exercise starts with listening and building trust that your teen will feel  heard with a valid opinion.  

Communication starts with you. Let’s get started! 

Nicky Rasmin is a certified coach and NLP practitioner helping busy working parents to have  less battles with their teenage kids and create a deeper, trusted connection. Her signature approach empowers parents to model and share leadership qualities at home,  so they can support their teens to develop the self-confidence and self-awareness to openly  communicate their feelings instead of choosing the ineffective responses of withdrawing or  slamming doors.  

For more information visit www.blueprintcoaching.com.au or email nicky@blueprintcoaching.com.au

Categories: Parenting

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