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How to Have a Real Conversation with Your Kid
33 Ways to Start a Conversation with Your Teenager (download link below)
I don’t know about you, but talking to someone else’s kid for me is easy. I’ve got nothing on it but comfort and ease. I see their innate yumminess and only that. There are no pins and needles.
Now, when it comes to talking to my own, it’s a bit different. But different in a good way, as it gives me a wake-up call regarding my thoughts, my rules, and where my ego tries to get the best of me.
I noticed my ego wants me to judge. And that doesn’t work if my goal is to raise a happy, healthy-minded, confident, comfortable in their own skin kid.
Our job as parents is to see our kids through the same lens that non-judgment would— if non-judgment and infinite love were a person. Our job is to not restrict them from who they are or think we know better. This doesn’t mean we don’t give our kids boundaries and rules. It means we allow them to tap into their inner wisdom and show them they already have what they need to make healthy decisions.
They are capable
Our way is not necessarily the right way.
Kids have what it takes to tap into their own natural genius and create an amazing life, with us supporting their beautiful uniqueness and loving them, regardless of our personal opinion.
We are all powerful beings with infinite possibilities. We may not be aware of those possibilities if our bandwidth is shrunken due to a faulty belief system and pure innocence.
Example A. Here I am at Capital One cafe, with my coffee (yum), computer, phone with headset, and my fave R&B tunes playing in my ear while I write this blog about an exchange with a kid in the cafe. He’s 20. Still a kid to me.
As I order my coffee, I see the potential in the barista. I notice he is pleasant but not particularly happy. I ask him what’s up. He tells me, well, he’s at his job now and has to go to his second job after this.
How wonderful, I say. We have a bit of a chat about all the amazing experiences available and how proud I am of him…even though I do not know this kid at all. I am proud. He is working and doing what he needs to do at the moment to be responsible. I find that admirable.
I wonder what is in his head. Does he know his potential? Does he have encouragement at home? Or is he ridiculed and judged?
Is he judging himself?
I find our youth today is very focused on where they should be rather than where they are.
They compare themselves with others, driven by media and “I’ll be happy when.” Has anyone told them WHEN is NOW?
Now is all we’ve got. It is what is real and true, and until we accept the OK-ness of now, we will always be chasing our tail.
We must talk to our kids and find out where they really are. What are they driven by? What are their likes and dislikes, and why? We are so busy schlepping them from activity to activity and pushing them to do their best, and maybe in a selfish way, fulfilling our own dreams. We don’t really know who they are.
Kids want to be heard. They want to be listened to, not judged.
Most of us think communicating is asking: “How was your day? What did you do today? Do you like your teacher/coach, etc?”
We don’t know our kids.
Try asking them:
What does kindness mean to you?
If you were your own best friend, what would be different?
Who is your favorite superhero/ athlete, and why?
The ‘why’ opens the door to possibilities, deepening and getting to know what motivates your kid, drives them, and where their priorities lie.
These conversations are game changers. But the biggest game changer is just to listen, not judge, and not even give an opinion unless asked. Unconditional love, all the way, creates unlimited possibilities.