A new year brings out new determinations. Perhaps you want to get along with your kids better. Maybe you want to yell less and win cooperation more calmly. Or, you just wish your kids and teens would be more open with you. Whatever your challenge, know that by you just making a small change can bring about big positive changes in your children.
The first step is to determine what you are doing or saying that seems to continue the conflict or shut down the communication. Pick something you feel compelled to say that just makes matters worse.
Write it down.
Here are some examples to get you thinking:
- I keep saying “How many times do I have to tell you”. “Why can’t you…..” “You should know better.” “You’re old enough to….”
- I keep saying “Why did you do that?” “I think you should…..” “Don’t be so upset. It will get better.” “When I was your age…” “It may seem hard now but it will get easier.”
Now here is where it’s easy and challenging at the same time.
Write it down again in bold writing. You will show this to your child/teen. Tell your child/children that you realize that when you say what you wrote down that it upsets them or makes matters worse. Ask, “Is this true?”
If they say, “Yes” then you’ve hit the nail on the head. If they say, “That doesn’t bother me too much. (Then keep just listening and hope they will continue with) “What really bothers me is when you say or do………….”. Here’s where your openness and desire to take full responsibility to improve the relationship will create magic.
Continue by saying, “My determination this year is to stop doing or saying at least one thing that hurts our relationship. I know that if I can do that, we will get along better. Is ……….. what you want me to stop saying (doing)? “
Get confirmation on what your child wants you to stop. Your child will feel great that you aren’t just blaming them for the problem. Instead, you are taking FULL responsibility for changing yourself because you know that when you change your child will respond differently. Post what you will stop in several places in the house where you will see it.
Anytime you start to make excuses why you do what doesn’t work such as because my child ignores me or because they aren’t doing what I want….etc, STOP! Children often blame others so you don’t want to act like a child, do you? When you take full responsibility for your actions, then you are teaching your child to do the same.
When you slip up, and you will at first, apologize and say, “It sure is hard changing bad habits. I’m sorry and I’m going to keep working on changing.” That’s it! Don’t say, “If you only did x then I wouldn’t do y.” This is shifting blame.
When your kids see you determined to change and you do, it will encourage them to share their inner struggles more willingly. You are creating a family where people share their weaknesses and support each other as they all try to improve. I suggest that you work on your own changes for a few months and show success before you ask your child/teen to change. Just make these changes about yourself. They will love this.
Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to download “The 7 Most Common Phrases Parents Say That Stop Kids From Listening”! You’ll also receive my weekly emails where you will learn how to transform annoying conflict into loving cooperation in your home.
Cynthia is available for private coaching sessions so you can quickly get the answers you need and make those much need changes right away. Click HERE for a complimentary 45-minute Fast-Track Clarity Session to learn what you can do now to create more harmony in your home.