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One way of training your kids to talk openly to you.

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Obviously we all talk to each other as a family but as our children grow older and those wonderful hormones kick in, often talking at a deeper level becomes a lot harder.

I had a client once who’s 12 year old boy didn’t come and tell him and his wife that some boys were not being nice to him. He was being bullied. He was one of those kids who was such a good boy, worked hard and didn’t complain much at home.  This situation had been going on for about a month and it was only after another parent said something that they asked him. He admitted to it but didn’t really want to talk about it.

The heart wrenching part of this story was that my client realised that his son was taking after him in not wanting to talk about the problem.  It dawned on him that when he had high pressured days, or problems, he would come home in a bad mood and not say why. He himself would actually not think too much about it and never wanted to really burden anyone with his problems. He now knew something needed to change.

I suggested a simple and lighthearted solution; “the daily mood flip calendar".  It stemmed from exactly this case and has worked for many people. What may seem like a fun conversation starter is actually quite a simple and powerful tool!

Parenting advice
Family time

So what they would now do as a family was to sit down around the table at dinner; Mum, Dad, and the three children (the 12 year old, 10 year old and 6 year old).  They would use this mood calendar to describe their mood at any given time. For example; inspired, rushed, sad etc.

Starting with the Dad; he would flip to the mood he was in, show everyone, read the meaning of the word (on the back) and then talk about his day.  Nothing too long winded but enough so the family could start identifying his mood and the reason that he was in it.  Then it would pass to the next person and the next.  The kids absolutely loved this and couldn’t wait to do this each night, they were now excited to share their own stories.  It was fun but most importantly gave the family a wonderful way of being able to talk about feelings and moods and to explain the reason.

The best bit about this story is that the Dad wisely realised that his kids were becoming like him and he didn’t want that so did something about it to change it. He did the growing and changing and the kids evolved and adapted with him.

You can start your own game or conversations without this flip calendar, but this way might be fun and interactive.  

Wishing you a lifetime of open communication with your family.

Alexandra Andrews

Life & Business Coach

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