Young people nowadays are being misinterpreted more than ever before, the media makes us look like a pack of thirsty and uncontrollable wolves. It’s no wonder parents feel more pressure to guide their offspring down the right path. But there’s a fine line between offering advice and tossing around orders. When crossed, tensions run high and strains the parent-child relationship. It’s gotten even harder to avoid because most twenty-somethings are still living at home. If you have one of those crashing, here are a few ways to communicate effectively with your children because speaking with your own flesh and blood can sometimes be the hardest.
1. Don’t use the “I raised you” argument
Admit it, it’s been thrown out there at least once or twice in every argument. Truthfully, it doesn’t have as much impact as you’d think. Your children should be eternally grateful for your care, but this probably has nothing to do with the heart of the matter. Raising them doesn’t give you the right to control them or suddenly justify your actions so no more guilt trips please. The same goes for the “I’m older than you” argument. Life experience doesn’t give you the ability to see the future so give them a chance.
2. When you see red, take a breather
It’s understandable that you’ll both be extremely frustrated but try not to let it show through snappy comebacks or hurtful words. This will add fuel to the flame and escalate the fighting. If you feel you can’t think clearly at any point of the argument, give yourself some time to self-reflect and then come back to the matter when you’re prepared. It gives them a chance to cool down as well.
3. No pride zone
Pride shouldn’t be a factor when fighting with your children because neither party wins or loses if the fight goes badly. The end goal is the same, to solve problems and move on happily with life. If you make a mistake, admit to it right away. Don’t be afraid to apologize first because if you never show that you’re willing to change, then they won’t have hope that you’ll understand.
4. Keep an open mind
This equates to listening without judgement. Their generation is very different than yours so naturally your beliefs and values won’t be identical. This doesn’t automatically make yours right and theirs wrong. Let them finish the entire story before raising hell at trigger words such as drugs, sex, or alcohol. There is probably a valid explanation for the issue or a “I’m sorry, I screwed up and feel terrible” coming. If they are willing to share, this means they trust you won’t throw their words back in their face.
5. Violence is never an option
Whatever you need to say, use only words. It might be appealing at the time to give them a slap to the face but it will only create a thicker boundary between you and your son/daughter. If you can’t fight the impulse, stop the fight and write a letter to them with all your concerns. It shouldn’t contain any exaggerations or accusations so when they read it alone without you as a stimulus, they can understand your side better.
Your children aren’t evil but they will make mistakes like everyone else, you included. You love your children and they love you, just make sure they know that during the fight. Your children might not follow these guidelines but as long as you set the example, they might follow suit. When your blood pressure is sky-rocketing, I hope you keep these tips in mind.
How do you communicate with your children?
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