Michael is growing up. Each day I see how he is pushing to be more independent and self-sufficient, yet there are still the struggles he faces with impulse control, asking for help, and realizing that when you love someone, you need to respect that they have boundaries, physical and psychological from you and you from them.
As I have realistically began to see Michael’s strengths and weaknesses and not assumed that I have to find the solution to all his problems, I have learned how communication deficits exist on all sides of the family-the parent’s and the child’s side. I have learned how to talk to Michael, get his input and give mine so that we can figure out how we can fix family fights or problems that keep occurring. Below are 5 ways our family has learned to handle communication deficits:
- Be honest about your weaknesses and what you are working on: It’s important to share with your child your own challenges and what you are doing to fix them- i.e. I have a temper so I take myself to a room to do 5 deep breaths and some yoga before I continue a discussion.
- Acknowledge their fear and frustration: It’s important that your child knows you feel bad that they are struggling. You are not okay-ing negative behavior, just saying you are there to support them through it.
- Ask them what tools they think could work: For a young child, ask if they need to blow bubbles, get a hug, squeeze something or walk to calm down. For an older child, let them write or describe what strategies they can use to center themselves and what they need from you.
- Make time to talk to them: No matter how tired you are, make time to listen and talk to your child. If they are not ready, just let them know that you are there for them when they are.
- Reward good behavior, and remind your child that they are not failures, they make good or bad choices: It’s important that kids see you catch them at being good. It’s also important that even when they trigger you by making bad choices, you tell them you are mad about the choice. It does not reflect the love you feel for them ever.
Exceptional Parents, what communication challenges do you have in your family? We all have to clear up how we communicate first as parents to our children and other adults, and then teach our kids by example how they can better describe from us what they need. It’s also important that we prize honesty about all else, and work on teaching our kids that there is no shame in learning from our mistakes. Until next time.