Communication Is Everything (And Also Sometimes The Hardest Thing)
Communication is everything -- and also sometimes the hardest thing. During my time in academia, I worked in a neurology unit where I saw patients lose hold of their perceptive and communicative functions. As a parent I’ve gobbled up the joys and benefits of my kids evolving and learning to communicate. As a wife, daughter, sibling, and friend, I’ve seen open communication heal wounds and silence sprout fences. And as an impassioned conversationalist, I’ve built my career around written words, video, and audio.
One of the biggest concerns I hear from parents revolves around communication -- as in, how do I keep my kids talking to me? How do I talk to them about [insert difficult and awkward topic du jour]? Subsequently, it's been so wonderful to work on Responsibility.org’s #TalkEarly program, which is all about creating a lifetime of conversations with kids, including being mindful of actions and language choices in front of kids (generally speaking and also with regard to alcohol). Through this work, I’ve written a lot on communicating with kids; and some of the posts that have resonated most with you include: why kids can benefit from your bad days, how to get your kids to talk to you, and 5 ways to find the confidence to speak up about hard things. (Side note: I'm also obsessed with breaking down stigma about conversations about things like puberty...let's talk about puberty!)
’m thrilled to continue my work with #TalkEarly in 2016 given that communication with Laurel (11) and Violet (4) remains very much top of mind for me. Laurel is a tween, and while I cherish the fact that right this second she remains very much connected and communicative with us, I know that could change any nanosecond. I’m intellectually prepared for that shift but emotionally dreading it! And with Violet, everything changed when she learned to talk. She was so frustrated and tempestuous as a pre-verbal being and life became so much easier when she was able to express herself verbally. I’m really interested to see how things evolve for her.
Professionally and personally I definitely have topics I want to explore and share about. For example: How do you navigate the challenges of communication when different family members communicate in different ways? How do we keep talking and connected and mindful of the present when it’s so easy to slide into device time? How do I best unpack my personal baggage around alcohol (my father was an alcoholic) from meaningful, helpful conversations with Laurel? Basically, how do you continue to work on creating a lifetime of conversations while navigating the inevitable (and totally normal) challenges coming down the pike?
Those are some of the questions I want to dive into but I really want to hear from you. What are your biggest communication challenges and fears with your kids? Has alcohol consumption entered the conversation? This year I want to work on helping to get answers to your questions. Because this blog is partially about me, but primarily about you. Tell me how I can help you!