Questions to Ask / Standards to Implement
Another blocker for teaching communication, ironically, can be technology. One of the things that technology is supposed to do is make it easier for everyone to communicate. In fact through things like facebook and twitter we can be updated on even the small details of what is going on in each other’s lives. Through texting we can discreetly communicate small snippets of information. Even email has replaced most interoffice communication and the need for buying stamps. But with the need for instant communication we may be loosing the personal touch which comes with face to face communication. There was a time when you wouldn’t think of telling something important over the phone because it was too impersonal. Now we blast our important announcements over the social networks and twitter.
We need to be careful through all of this that our children don’t miss out on being taught how to communicate properly. If the only way they are learning to communicate is through text and tweets, they are seriously missing out. You cannot have a deeply heartfelt conversation about emotions through this venue. That training takes lots of time given by mom and dad. Make sure there are times of your day where there are “no cell phones allowed”, so your family can communicate to each other with some good old fashioned talking!
Yesterday we discussed how busy the day to day family life can be. We need to make each day count and not just live for the weekend or those vacation days. So often it is easy to pass the time or just attempt to relax in front of the TV. But this is another thing that can become a communication blocker if we don’t set up boundaries around it.
It can be a fun family night to pop popcorn and have a movie night. We cannot however depend on the television to be our only source of family entertainment. The family obviously won’t be communicating if they are all zoned out in front of the TV. Have a family game night when every one is done with their homework or think of another fun activity where the family can interact.
Another place the TV should not be allowed is the dinner table. Dinner can be a great segue from the craziness of everyone’s day into the relaxation of the evening. But if the TV is on, even in the background, it will distract everyone from talking about their day.
Fewer things get new parents into an argument faster than a discussion about the “family bed.” There are two extremes of thought on the topic of letting the baby stay in bed with you. This discussion might be controversial for you. Above all, it is our hope it will stimulate discussion. Each couple needs to talk through whether the baby should be in the bed of the parents and each couple needs to come to an agreement. Making these decisions unilaterally has put great strain on many marriages. Parents need to be in agreement on how these issues are to be dealt with and why.
One of the first opportunities for emancipation is when a child leaves his parent’s bed for their own crib/bed… and room. It is our opinion, for a healthy child, it should be sooner rather than later. As the child learns that mom and dad are not gone … but are still available, the much needed process of emancipation, and thus independence, begins. A child obviously cannot be in the parent’s room forever, it would not be healthy for the marriage or for the child. So parents need to be in agreement as to when and how this transition will happen. Something to keep in mind is, the longer a couple waits, the more difficult and traumatic the change may be for everyone.
These are family decisions that must be made not out of convenience. They should be made out of discussion and purpose. This can be one the early childhood development independence training opportunity. More than anything, both parents have to be ready and prepared for the transition.
Many people have jokingly said that nothing good can happen at such and such an hour of the morning. Ironically, in many cases that statement is very true. That is why it is so important to give your child a curfew. By giving this curfew you set up a boundary, set your child up for accountability and communicate that your child still reports to you even in this area.
It is amazing how many parents either do not give their child a curfew or an unbelievably late curfew. We need to remember that we are to set our child up for success and not failure.
Start small. Give an early curfew in the beginning so that as your child is successful at meeting the curfew you can make it later. Also keep in mind that the state has given most teenage drivers a curfew already.
Another benefit for a curfew is that you can wait up to meet your child. You must be able to do this to help hold your child accountable. This is also a great time to open the doors of communication. As they are coming off the emotion of the date you can be there to debrief them. This can really help to set you up as the go to person when they need help or have questions in their relationships.