Here is a Parent Success Story told by an amazing mom of a 13 year-old boy.
I started parenting coaching with Cynthia because I wanted to learn how to modify my communication style with my 13 year-old son. I wanted us to be able to communicate on a more harmonious level. He is very sensitive and reacts slowly to life whereas I react very quickly. I just didn’t understand how to connect and as a result he was shutting down and being silent.
Because of my strong-willed nature, I usually told my son what to do. After meeting with Cynthia, I realized that I needed to work on listening and reacting with empathy. I needed to respect his slower and thoughtful way and learn how to slow down and listen to him. I was blocking his communication most of the time which was why he had become silent.
Here is an example of how I would have reacted to a situation in the past and how I interact now with my new communication skills.
I learned that my son was accepted into a special program that I was excited about. He sent me a text saying, “I got in. I’m not sure if I want to do this.”
Before working with Cynthia, I am embarrassed to say, that I would have instantly thought to myself what a slacker. He has to go for this opportunity. I would have jumped on him texting back, “What do you mean you are thinking about this? You are going to do this. It’s good for you.”
Can you see why my son had shut down? I learned that he didn’t feel heard or valued because I would instantly respond and tell him he was wrong. I felt horrible to realize what I was doing. At the same time, I felt hopeful and encouraged to know that I could change myself and as a result, my son would open up.
Instead, I restrained my natural impulse to control and responded with empathy. My son felt heard and we ended up having a great problem solving discussion.
Son: “I got in.”
Me: “That’s great.”
Son: “I’m not sure if I want to do this. I’m thinking about it. It will take up a lot of time.”
Me: “It sounds like maybe you are concerned about whether you’ll have enough time for other things.
Me: “I hear you. I get you. I’ll see you when you get home.”
I didn’t judge and when he came home he was in a good mood. In the past when I was demanding, he would have been unhappy and silent.
Me: “We don’t have to solve this right now.”
He seemed relieved. No one was demanding an answer. The conversation continued. My heart felt like, wow. I understood my son. I don’t like being shut down either. I felt so close to him by not telling him what to do. I’m continuing to use my amazing communication skills that Cynthia has taught me. I am much happier with myself and my son and I are much closer.
Things have been going SOOO well with Matt lately – I even feel like I need to pinch myself!
2013 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking, webinars, and private parent coaching sessions.Cynthia writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthia@bridges2understanding,com, or 650. 679.8138 to learn more about creating the relationship you want with your children.