Breath easy, mom and dad, you’re still making an impact on your adolescent, but it will take some conscious parenting on your part to keep the door of healthy communication open between the two you.
All in the name of love, parents can slip into two modes of communicating with kids that end up putting a wedge in the relationship.
Here are two roles to watch out for when communicating with your children:
Research shows when the brain is in stress mode, it is impossible to put anything new into it. A relaxed and noncompetitive brain is open and palpable. If your tween has ticked you off, coming off as combative and aggressive will shut them down––literally.
When you want to hammer down and “teach him or a lesson,” this form of communication will do the opposite of what you want. It will create fear first, but then resentment next. Your influence and credibility with your child will drop about 10 notches.
Defuse The Punisher
An alternative to falling into this mode is to give yourself time to cool down. Talk to someone who will not take your side (you read that right), and get an objective view. Looking to justify how much you’re right won’t allow “the punisher” an opportunity to see a new approach.
Approach your child with compassion: State what you feel, why they’re important to you, and how you are willing to support them in the future. Also share what you’re not willing to accept, but do that last, after you’ve communicate your care and support.
They need to hear you’ve got their back.
Nobody wants to see his or her children suffer. (Even down deep, the punisher thinks he’s helping the child.) In an effort to help the tween, a parent will don a superhero cape and swoop in to save the day!
The downfall of this role is that often the most pivotal moments in life include some sort of pain or discomfort, so to take that away keeps a child depending on others and expecting things to be done for them.
A natural cause and effect is healthy. Forgot your lunch in van? Eat school lunch. Forgot to get your planner signed? Take the 10-point deduction. Chances are they’ll remember next time, and you won’t be making unnecessary phone calls or extra trips.
Defuse The Rescuer
As a parent defusing this role, it’ll still feel important to verbalize to your child (or even hug them tightly next time they’re in arms length) that you love them very much. You may feel guilt if you’ve been accustomed to saving the day for them, so be gentle with yourself as well.
Healthy communication all comes down to providing a safe, support, and structured place for your tween to land when they come to you. And trust me, they do want to come to you.
They absolutely do.
Rachel is a certified coach with a Masters Degree in Counseling. Leading people to greater mental, emotional, and spiritual awareness is her passion. Learn more here. Email Rachel or drop a note in the comments. Visit our INspired Leadership team website. Join our Facebook Community. Follow Rachel’s Twitter and INspired Leaderhip’s Twitter. Let’s network together on LinkedIn.
Reflect: What have you noticed has or has not worked with your tween?