Food Storage & Other Adventures in Motherhood

Thoughts on Communicating with The Ones We Love

by heather

Last week when at the park with my friend and our kids, we had an interesting conversation. We were talking about communication and how we want to teach our kids that 1) They can talk to us as parents and that 2)They need to talk to their peers. If they are in a situation with friends or a boyfriend/girlfriend, they need to feel like they can speak up and say ‘Hey, I don’t feel comfortable with this’, and not go along with something just because they’re afraid of rejection or hurting someones feelings. But getting them to be able to talk to their peers means that they need to practice talking with us, their parents. Then she said something that surprised me. First of all, my friend is great. I love the conversations that we have, and that she is willing to consider different sides of an issue. She’s a great listener and fun to talk to. Second, she and her husband are absolutely the chattiest couple that I know. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, they just like to talk. So when she said that sometimes even she and her husband have had times where they had difficulty communicating, I was surprised. I mean, if I were to nominate someone as being unlikely to have communication issues, it would be them. Her point being that, it’s a challenge to teach our children to communicate, when we are ourselves are not perfect at it in our own close relationships.

When she said this about her communication with her husband, something struck me. I think I know why real deep communication can be hard. Besides requiring some about of confidence, to really talk to someone about things that are important to you requires some vulnerability. You have to able to 1) Admit how you feel 2) Recognize how the other person feels and 3) Be willing to consider the possibility that you are/were wrong. I write it out like it’s some easy formula, but it’s not. That’s a really hard thing to do, and all parties need to be able to do these things for it to work. Some people are not capable of admitting that they were wrong, ever. I came to this realization because of situations I’ve had in my own close relationships and the struggle that it was. But as hard as it was, I am so glad I did it. It sure has strengthened the relationships where we were able to do this and it has made me so much happier. Now if I can teach this skill to my children so that they don’t have to go through the same grief that I went through…


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