Hard Conversations Made Easy

Hard Conversations Made Easy | OC Revive

Having those hard conversations with your child isn’t always easy. Sometimes, we, as parents, are so afraid to get it wrong that we simply stop trying to get it right. But, just like good communication is the key to any successful relationship, the same goes for the parent and child. The only difference is, this relationship is probably the most important one you or your child will ever have.

As parents, we all wonder why every other parent was handed a handbook at their child’s birth, and we were the only ones who didn’t get a copy. That is not true. We all learn as we go, but there’s simple steps that can be taken to make the communication aspect easier from the get. Finding tools to bridge the gaps that act as barriers to effective communication is critical to building a solid parent-child relationship.

Three Barriers To Communication Included:

Many parents fail at this basic step because they lack experience and/or skills, but unless you’ve been through parenting classes, or raised other children and got it 100% right the first time (which no one does) this is something that can be learned and adapted to your own family’s make-up and lifestyle. Single parents may need to have an entirely different style than their married or co-parenting counterparts. Same thing goes for parents of only children vs. parents of more than one child. Family size, composition, age, geography and socioeconomic factors all go into play into mapping out a style.

Lack of skills goes hand in hand with learning your own parenting style. But again, no child is born with a blueprint, so don’t stress this point. When they say parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever have, they were right, but it’s also the most important job on earth. Like with any job, skills can be learned.

Fear is normal. If you’re not scared, that’s a little strange, frankly. Fear just shows you care enough to want to be the best parent possible, and clear communication, especially during those difficult conversations, is the best pace to start.

Hard Conversations Made Easy | OC Revive
Hard Conversations Made Easy | OC Revive

Most parents have a hard time having simple conversations, but the waters get a little muddier when they’re about difficult topics like sex, drugs, divorce, finances, moves, the birth of another child, etc. It’s not that they aren’t able to get it right, sometimes the fear starts with just thinking you always have to get it right.

Communication barriers stand in the way of having open relationships and conversations. There are several keys to help knock down the walls that act as these barriers.

10 Barrier Breakers

Hard Conversations Made Easy | OC Revive

1. Ask For What You Need

Asking for what you need can be tough because we always want to give of ourselves to our kids and we forgo the fact that we have needs too. Think about the airplane crash scenario. They always tell you to put your oxygen mask on before putting on anyone else’s. That’s because if you don’t keep yourself safe, you can’t be there to care about anyone else. Asking for help is essential because if a child doesn’t know what you need from them, whether it be a certain behavior or understanding, they won’t know how to react. Parents should lead the way when it comes to opening the door of effective communication and this can start by simply asking.

2. Be Prepared

We’re all busy these days, with school work and social lives. Just like other important meetings, set a day and time with your child to sit down and talk about things. Make the time convenient for both of you, so your child understands that you value their time, and expect them to value yours as well. Be prepared to get started right away, so making a list of topics or questions ahead of the set meeting time is essential.

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Get It Wrong At First

Just because you’re the parent’ doesn’t mean you’re always right. The old adage, “Because I said so” never worked before, and it certainly doesn’t work with kids today. Be open, look for ways to problem solve, and be prepared to be wrong – or at least, not always being right.

4. Set Realistic Expectations

Be prepared for reasonable outcomes. Don’t expect too much from your child or yourself. These conversations, though not always easy, shouldn’t have to feel hard either. By minimizing the need for having a perfect outcome, the pressure will be decreased and the communication will be increased.

5. Set Goals

What would you like from the conversation? Think about it ahead of time so you don’t enter into the time you’ve set aside without a reason or goal in mind. It’s also important to keep the conversation going until you reach those goals. Sometimes it’s easier to divide the conversation into milestones, so it doesn’t become overwhelming for either of you.

6. Speak Up

Your feelings and needs are just as important as those of your child, so make sure you voice this at the start of the conversation. You’ll teach your child the value of self-respect by showing them that you respect your own feelings

Hard Conversations Made Easy | OC Revive

7. Leave Assumptions At The Door

Don’t assume to know anything, and don’t assume they know either. Remember the old saying about when you ASSUME, it makes an ASS out of U and ME? Enough said.

8. Ask Questions

Write down a list of questions before you start the conversation. It’s okay to read them and not pretend to have memorized them. The realer you are, the more open they’ll be.

9. Be Willing To Hear What You DON’T Want To Hear

Just because you want a conversation to go a certain way doesn’t mean it will. Be open and willing to hear what you might not want to hear. This goes back to setting realistic expectations and not being afraid of being wrong.

Hard Conversations Made Easy | OC Revive

10. Lighten Up

Keep the conversation light and keep anger at the door. You might feel like raising your voice, but the loudest voice gets heard the least.

Following The D.E.A.R M.A.N. Acronyms!

Hard Conversations Made Easy | OC Revive

G.I.V.E (And Take)

Hard Conversations Made Easy | OC Revive

More Ways To Bridge The Communication Gap

Get to Know Social Media Platforms

Do Your Best to Be Involved in School Issues/Stay in Contact With Teacher/Counselors and let Them Know You Want to Be Involved

Establish Comfort Level and Seek Help When You’re Feeling in Over your Head

Only Give Enforceable Consequences

Having hard conversations might not be easy, but tackling high hurdles can land the greatest rewards. No matter how many barriers might be standing in the way of starting the tough talks, the best way to start a hard conversation is – to start.

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Hard Conversations Made Easy | OC Revive

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