As Christmas and the holidays are fast approaching, as we spend time together, it’s a time that we have opportunities to open or close conversations. I am all for strengthening relationships but how can you respond to a question or start or continue a conversation no matter what it might be about? There are two ways and I call them door openers and door slammers.
Door Openers… I’ve called these ‘open door conversations’. These are ideas that encourage and continue conversations with your children.
That’s a good question! What do you think about that? I want to understand how you feel. Tell me what that means to you. I’m glad you shared that with me. It sounds like what you’re saying is. Tell me more about that. How do you feel? What do you think? It might feel weird telling me but do any of your friends…. Wow! I am proud of you. That's great that you feel that way. Thank you for talking with me about that. You can ask me anything. I don’t know the answer but I will find out. Do you know what e.g. pornography means? I need to have a conversation with you about…e.g. puberty and I’ll tell you lots of things that happened to me and how I felt.
Then there are the Door Slammers. These are conversation stoppers that discourage your child from talking with you. Sometimes door slammers stop your child from EVER asking you again.
If anyone goes near you I’ll be so angry. You’re too young for that! Where did you hear that? If you say that word again, I’ll…That’s none of your business! I don’t care what your friends are doing. That’s just for girls/boys. We’ll talk about that when you need to know. That’s disgusting! That’s a weird thing to say. I’m disappointed in you. You look like a prostitute wearing that. Sex is bad. End of conversation! I’m really angry with you for saying that.
So what are your door openers? You may come up with some of your own. It takes practice, but you might be surprised by how much your children want to talk to you after a door opener conversation and how much they don’t when you slam the door of the conversation closed.
So let’s keep opening the doors!