3 Tips For Parents Navigating Emotional Conversations With Youth
As a parent learning how to navigate your child’s ever changing communication styles can be difficult, but it can also be extremely rewarding in the strength of the relationships you are able to build. There is no clear roadmap on how to communicate effectively with your child, but here are some tips to help you find your way.
1. Setting an Example
One of the first important things that adults or parents can do is to model what it looks like to talk openly about topics such as their emotions, feelings, and mental health and normalize those conversations. By openly sharing what you’re feeling and demonstrating vulnerability you are creating a safe space for your children to do the same when they are ready.
2. Encourage Creativity
Encouraging youth to explore their creative and expressive sides can help them process their emotions in their own ways. It’s not always the case where a child is going to have a sit down conversation with parent and say, I’m feeling depressed, but if they want to write a poem, and then share that with the parent, or just have it as a way to process their emotions it can be a really wonderful and productive way to get their feelings out, not keep them all bottled up inside. This way you also remove the pressure to outright sit down with a person and tell them exactly what you are feeling. By encouraging children to explore different creative avenues on their own, you are also in part enabling them to discover communication styles that they find work best for them.
It is very important as a parent to remain mindful of many things, however some of the most important might be to be mindful of their own actions and discussions with their children, and to be sure to not judge or shame any emotions or feelings. If children feel judged or shamed by a parent, who is most likely one of their most important role models, they will be more reluctant to share things with them in the future due to the fear having the same experience. This can lead to kids not wanting to talk about their feelings or mental health, and will make determining the most effecting communication style much more difficult. Instead, try to let your child know that what they are feeling is normal. It’s understandable. And it’s not the end of the world – you can work together to make it better. But it’s not a bad thing. And it’s not a shameful thing.
There is no single guide book to parenting, and every single interaction and experience will be different for everyone, but by ensuring you are being mindful of some of these fundamental behaviours in interactions, you will have a much easier time navigating communication with your children.
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