I believe it’s never too late to improve; increase your skills, develop your relationships, boost your knowledge. But I almost forgot about that belief.
During my son’s adolescent years, I focused on communicating in a way that would help him develop independence and self confidence. And I think we did a pretty good job together. But now he is a teenager, and now there are new challenges. He hardly shares anything with me. We’ve attempted to discuss it, but he insists that he prefers not to talk. I found myself thinking: It’s too late. He’s developed and this is who he is.
As research for my business, I started reading the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. The very first lesson in the book opened my eyes to a skill I could improve. I found myself with a new thought: Maybe it’s NOT too late.
First, I had to address it with my son. While we were working on a project together this weekend, I said, “I realize that when you are sharing an experience or feeling, some of my responses are not the best. You’ve told me that you really don’t like to talk. I’m wondering if that’s because in the past when you wanted to tell me something, my reply stopped you from talking. So now it’s easier to not say anything at all.”
He was listening, so I continued. “I’m reading this book, and I’ve learned some better responses. Will you help me practice? The next time you have even a slight desire to share something, will you try it out on me?”
He agreed and we will see how it goes.
Sharing my feelings and thoughts has always positively improved my communication with my son. When we as parents let our children see who we are as real human beings, they learn more about who they are, who they can be, and how to think and feel about it.
If you are a learner like me, understand that by modeling the behavior of learning and growing, we are also teaching. Share that growth with your children and they will also grow.