Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Children-Parent Communication, absolutely needed

Communication between parents and their children can be a source of great pleasure and a wonderful bridge to being close and warm. Or it can be a source of deep distress for everyone and bring a family to the brink of disintegration. It is that important. Often when professionals are brought in to help a family they spend time getting to understand the dynamics of the family and it is the communication patterns that give them the best 'feel' for what is really going on inside that intense and intensely private space that is a family system.
How can we make sense of communication?
One of the most useful models we have found for making sense of how people are communicating with one another is through Transactional Analysis. We have a short video of the model available on U-tube. With this model it becomes easy to see how two people 'miss' one another and talk at cross purposes. This is especially true between parents and their children as parents and carers have to walk a delicate line between talking to the children as equals and coaching them to make the most and best of themselves and some tough love type conversations where they lay down the family law and set boundaries. Getting that balance right enough of the time makes a big difference to the success of the relationship.

Getting it right: Tough love and fun
One of the things that children respond to really well is fun! Not any great amazing revelation I know but it is something that in our observations of family communication we see missing much of the time. The way I understand it is that parents and carers get caught up with their responsibilities - put food on the table, roof over heads, make sure kids get on at school. It is like a computer programme running their system. What they lose in this programme is the fun button. Spending time with the children, playing, doing interesting things and just hanging out somewhere you both enjoy gives more quality to your relationship than anything else. I have often found parents worrying about having 'family time' and yet hating the time they do have as a family because it always leads to rows! In fact it is far better to have quality time with the children on a one to one basis as the priority and that makes family events much easier because the competition for time and energy has been relieved. Try it and see.

No comments:

Post a Comment