Be in the Know: Easy, Practical Advice #2

Posted on by YFC Lincoln

Do you ever wish your tweens would talk with you more? Do you wonder what's really going on in their day or in their heads? We understand. The struggle is real. But it is worth fighting for open dialogue with your children. As much as possible, you want to be someone in whom they will confide. You want to remain in the loop of what's going on in their heads and hearts. How do you do this? 

Ready for the next piece of advice?

#2 Control Your Facial Expressions

Go stoic. Whatever your child is telling you, it is best to show no reaction in your face. Though your heart may be exploding or your anger raging, don't let it show. Separate your face from your feelings. Remain cool, composed, above all calm. 

When your child comes to you and starts saying this, that, or the other, nod your a head a lot and have your first words be ones of acceptance and empathy. "I'm so glad you told me," is always a safe go-to. It's good to practice this so that "I'm so glad you told me" becomes yoru automatic response as opposed to "I can't believe..."

If your face shows a negative reaction, it can quickly cause your child to shut down and share no more. So don't blow up. Pretend you are a big sieve or grate and regardless of what your child is saying, let everything fall through, but catch the big stuff. What do we mean by this? Most of what your child is doing is processing out loud, saying what they need to say to just hear it themselves. There is a hill to die on, as it was were; issues that must be resolved, but many comments you can pass over. Think of it like you're giving advice to one of your child's friends. Disengage yourself enough to keep having open dialogue. That means you cannot let your emotions come out in your words except for empathy. Let your child put it all out there. Let everything fall through you as the sieve and you catch the big stuff and deal with that.

So what is your typical reaction when your tween tells you something? 

Which empathetic response can you practice so that it becomes your initial reaction?

"I'm so glad you told me."

"I'm sorry you're going through this."

"That sounds really hard."

"Thank you for trusting me with this. That really means a lot."

"I'm in your corner."

"I'm here for you."

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