Parents, how well are your messages getting through to your children? Are they hitting the bull’s eye or missing the entire dart board? Here are some strategies to help you connect with your kids like never before.
The fact is even our most well-intentioned communications will fall on deaf ears unless we have a strong relationship based on mutual understanding. Since every child is unique (ours are polar opposites!), we need to relate to them personally and individually. This involves customizing our communications to their unique personality and behavioral style. Unfortunately, there’s no surefire “one size fits all” approach.
A good relationship between any two people, parent-child or otherwise, rests on a platform of mutual respect and valuing each other’s unique qualities. Just because we’re shooting for the same objectives with our teens (e.g., solid leadership foundation, strong character, self confidence), doesn’t necessarily mean we should use the same communication style for each of them. Teens vary remarkably in their needs, reactions, communications, and behavioral styles. This impacts how they relate to us and to the world around them.
The point is, we must be students of our children’s temperaments and personalities in order to accomplish our objectives. One helpful tool for you to consider is the DISC personality test which is available free at www.123test.com. It offers great insights on behavioral style for the entire family. Your children will understand you better, too!
By understanding how your children are wired AND how their personalities interact with yours, you can accomplish these important relationship goals:
- Identify what motivates (and discourages) them
- Appreciate their strengths and be empathetic toward their challenges
- Communicate in such a way that they receive your messages in the manner intended
- Respond to them in such a way that they feel safe, heard, and understood
- Refrain from overly imposing your own nature, preferences, and ambitions on them
- Have realistic expectations of them
- Respect your differences
- Develop parenting strategies that work best for you, and ultimately, for them
Take some time to reflect on your interactions with your children—when do they go especially well and when do you butt heads? Is your teen more laid back or high energy? People or task oriented? Disciplined or carefree? Emotional or logical? Now, think about your own unique personality. How is it different from your children’s, and in what ways is it similar? Consider your differences and similarities and allow it to inform your communication style. You’ll hit the bull’s eye that much more.
How is your communication with your teen? Do you have a strong understanding of their unique personality? Do you parent your children differently? Feel free to share your own experiences, tips, and lessons learned with us!
About the author
Dennis Trittin is the author of What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead and Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World. Through his books, blog, and nationwide speaking engagements, Dennis prepares students for life success and equips parents and educators in their vital training role. You can find him here on Facebook.