Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Focus on Positive Communication

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Focus on Positive Communication

Article excerpt

In last week's article, we provided you with hints on how to improve your communication skills with your teenager. Today we will explore ways you can focus your energy on having positive communication with your child. Adolescence is a very difficult time of transition for most teens. You're not an adult and not quite a kid, either.

You begin to take over responsibility for personal hygiene, form intimate relationships, try to understand your developing body and start making decisions about friends, drug use, courses to take in school and sports or activities to take part in.

All of this is made easier if you have a positive interactive relationship with your parents. Too often, this is lacking not because both parties have not tried or wanted it, but rather the parent's development as a parent and the child's development as a more capable person have not matched up well.

The old Top Down communication pattern used when the children were young is not only not working well, but causing heated arguments and extended periods of no communication.

The child's response pattern of anger and disdain is not working any better. Power plays and blaming never work well in the long run for good communication.

So what does work? Here are some communication builders that will work for you, and some are even fun to try. First and foremost to all communication, no matter who the other party is, is to really listen to what the other party is trying to say. Paraphrase what you heard back to them in a respectful tone, or as a question: "What I heard you say is..." "You are telling me is that..."

Make mental notes as your children talk rather than interrupt at the first thing you hear that you do not agree with. Showing that you really heard their points will go a long way toward improving any communication issues.

Remember the times you had fun with your children when they were young. It still can happen. Board games, card games, Pictionary, trivia games, even a game of Horse on the basketball court are great ways to build communication. …

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