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3 Magic Words For Better Communication

Knowing what to do in the face of resistance and pushback from your child or teen can boost your confidence in your parenting skills and decrease strain in your relationship.

Here’s a cool story that shows today’s quick tip - Encourage Communication With 3 Magic Words. I’m pretty sure you’ll relate!

Kelly continued to be surprised at the level of pushback from her 12 year old when asked to do something. I feel like I'm steeling myself every time. The interaction feels so negative when I just want to connect. I know I still need to learn how to set up good boundaries for how he treats me.

As she shared a specific incident in our session, Kelly told me how she did her best to act calm even though inside her heart was pounding. As her son started raising his voice, Kelly said, “I’m not comfortable with the way you’re talking to me.” To which he said, “Well YOU’RE acting like that!”

Kelly tried asserting again what she needed him to do but it didn’t go very well :(

At this point in Kelly’s story I invited her to pause and do a role playing exercise where she would be her 12 year old and I would be her. (This exercise will be included in my mini-class because it’s so powerful.)

As Kelly felt viscerally how her words - said by me - felt to her son - played by her - she had a huge aha! Her words felt bad to hear. She realized her son perceived his mom very differently than how Kelly perceived herself.

When we role-played the incident again, using empathy, I turned the focus from what Kelly needed to curiosity about what her son might be feeling by using these words, Oh! I didn’t realize. Tell me more.

Kelly said that it felt totally different! That it felt disarming.

Disarming allows for space. Space allows for connection and communication.

The destination is still healthy boundaries and appropriate expectations, but the path to get there is one of empathy and curiosity rather than trying to assert authority. This relational approach is effective in boosting your confidence and building connection.

Kelly has told me that as she practices this new way of responding, it disarms her son. This has decreased the strain in their relationship and helped her feel more calm, confident and connected.

How cool is that?!

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