Good Communication for a Healthy Mind
People communicate all the time, but there is a difference between ‘just’ communicating, and communicating well. Good communication has to be learnt and it takes thought and effort. It is really important to have the freedom to be able to express yourself within these close relationships and to be able to explore your needs and wants and ideas and opinions.
And as children start to learn how to communicate, once the best things we can do for them is to listen. To really listen. When children feel heard they are more likely to open up and share more, more of their questions and more of their worries and concerns, as well as more of what is going on in their worlds in general.
If your child is not much of a talker then start to engage by talking about everyday things, try and feel connected before asking more intimate questions. Connection builds trust and that makes it easier for both parties to operate from. Practice empathy (see previous blog) and show interest.
And when you are talking about more sensitive matters, concentrate and stay focussed. It is often hard to talk about things that are troubling us and feeling like we are being heard can be a huge support when we are feeling a bit down. Try and stay away from blaming and judging and try and use ‘owning’ language, such as ‘I am disappointed that’ rather than ‘You have made me feel’… there is a subtle difference here, but it is a huge difference in how something is perceived and received.
If you find that things are escalating and you can feel that conflict is on it’s way then use it as an opportunity to connect further and try to navigate carefully. If you can avoid anger and harsh words then stay with the conversation, however if you feel the emotions building up too much, then it may be time to take some time out and revisit the conversation at a later time. Outbursts of anger are usually very destructive to any relationship and if they can be avoided, you will be doing well for everyone involved.
And we all do it, we all say things that we don’t actually mean, in the heat of the moment. And that’s OK, we are all human… the thing to do is to try go back to that space and take responsibility for your words. Apologise… explain where your outburst came from… and connect again.