Last Friday night we had a family movie night. My wife was out running some errand with my son and they came home with the movie Brave. They did not have the movie we wanted so I guess this was the best option. Some kind of princess movie is not normally high on my list, but while watching I saw a great illustration that I think can apply to all parents. I’ve to give you some context so stay with me for the payoff.
I’m not sure if you have seen this movie or not, but one of the story lines is the relationship with a girl and her mom (The Queen and the Princess). They are having some (a lot) of communication issues which lead to a huge fight. After the fight the Princess finds a witch who makes a potion to change the fate of Princess. This potion turns the Queen into a bear (definitely did not see that coming!!) And as a result the queen (now a bear) and the princess flee to forest.
It is in the forest that the queen and the princess really start to communicate. There was not a lot of talking going on because the queen couldn’t talk as a bear, but for the first time the queen and princess got some insight into the other person.
Here’s the pay off: Sometimes we have to get away from the routine in order to truly start to communicate.
I think sometimes as parents we have a hard time communicating with our kids. And the struggles we face change as they get older. My struggles as a dad of a 4 year old and 2 year, my communication issues are far different from yours as a middle school or high school parent. But there are things that we can do to help us better to communicate with our kids.
A) Go do something that they enjoy doing. Whatever they are into, be into. By doing this it will help you 1) know what they like and 2) know how to talk with them about it.
B) Go for a day or weekend trip. This gets you both out of the normal routine and almost forces you to communicate. But the trip itself will not create it. Do something you both have never done, try a new food together. The what doesn’t matter, doing it together does.
C) Resist the temptation to look at your phone/email/other distracting this. Make a pact with your student that for the time you are together your phones are off. THEN DO IT! We all need to disconnect sometime especially when we are around our family.
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how you can approach communicating differently with your student. What are some other ways you have found to effectively communicate with your student? I’d love for you to share!