Family Consultants Coach Communication Skills

. How we parents communicate and demonstrate conversations with our children speaks louder than any intention or goal. A parent coach or family consultant trains parents and family members in communications skills. How are your communications skills?

 

Not Like This

"Caron, speak up." My father screamed. Other statements he used were....

"Quit mumbling. Stop mumbling. You are driving me nuts."

"Quit mumbling. 

My father was a man with a hearing loss, probably acquired from his stent of service in the second world war. He boasted how he was lucky to be alive despite the shard of metal in his brain. He drank a lot which often resulted in being a happy drunk until he couldn't hear what one of his children said. Then, his short fuse resulted in the not-so-nice screaming bout.

The story of my father demonstrates how truly important establishing two-way communication within families is. Two-way communication implies two people are speaking, but also listening, as well as respecting, opinions and solutions. Two-way communication suggests that listening receives as much respect as speaking. 

Communication styles are characterized by the way people want to appear and be heard:

  • People want to look (or attempt to appear) a certain way when communicating. For example, it was necessary to my father that he raised his voice and corrected me because he was the "boss." 

 Unclear, poor communication leaves family members unhappy and lonely. If your communication skills are lacking, then a family member may be miserable and feel alone. These tips can help you improve the opportunities for being heard, speaking your truth, and inviting conversations with your children. 

Ten Right-Way Communication Skills for the Home 

Fostering a more favorable environment in your home includes offering opportunities for discussions and space for disagreements, Try these communication strategies

1. Be open and honest with one another. While being honest, be kind when saying something that may cause a family member any distress. Children are more receptive to calm voices, kind words, and tone of voice, but then, isn't everyone? 

2. Have some fun each day. Family fun doesn't have to take up a lot of time. It can be as simple as having ice cream cones or playing with your pets. Simple tasks or rituals make a significant difference in how the communication flows in a home, mainly when people are engaged in functions together. 

3. Set priorities for chores that everyone must do. Agree on who does what chores and when they should do them, so everyone participates in age-appropriate tasks. Write them on a chore chart ahead of time to prevent arguments! 

4. Keep privacy boundaries. Adults and kids both need their privacy on a regular basis. Ensure that the kids understand the importance of respecting this priority.

5. Have a family meeting each week to discuss family issues. Find a time in which everyone in the family can attend. Hold the meeting every week, preferably at the same time. In the meeting, let each family member speak their mind, even if it's a complaint. Solve challenges, run ideas by each other, and make plans for the future together.

6. Allow free time. Everyone needs some time to do things on their own or with their friends.  Meeting this need will help each family member feel more satisfied, fulfilled, and open to communicating.

7. Spend holidays and special events together as a family. Strengthen your family bond with special occasion family traditions. Let the kids share their ideas about the occasion, too.

8. Establish a weekly family night. Make time just to enjoy being together. Watch movies, play games, or have story time. Encourage laughter and open communication.

9. Learn to negotiate. Learning to compromise and come up with win-win solutions for everyone involved is a priceless skill that will serve your family members well throughout their lives.

10. Say, "I love you." Each day, remember to show your spouse and kids how much you love them. Share loving, encouraging words and hugs freely throughout the day - even if it's a hard day, especially if it's a hard day!)

A happy home promotes a supportive place to live, play, and look forward to the future! A comfortable home welcomes your loved ones when they return from work or other outings. They can leave the stresses of the outside world behind as they enter the warm sanctuary of home. Practice these communication strategies to create an inviting environment in your home because you shape the foundation for your child's ability to get along in life. 

Fulfill Your Calling and Train as a Family Coach

Behavioral Regulation-2-Administer Small Doses of Fun

Administering fun in small daily doses will be the first challenge for coach and parents alike. After all, what parent thinks about fun when their personal energies are sucked into

  • A perpetual whirlwind of
  • Frequent phone calls from teachers about a child’s behaviors, and
  • Unending fears or concerns for the welfare and future of a child?

 

[ctt template="5" link="CIh11" via="yes" ]This is precisely why activities must be re-introduced in small manageable doses, so as not to cause further overwhelm. @parent_coach[/ctt]

You can be certain that the stress the parent experiences and has experienced, has robbed them of their ability to be creative. Their tolerance levels are stuck in a stress state of inflexibility.

Coaching How To Stretch and have Fun

When, in the course of the coaching relationship, it is time to stretch a client to consider initiating a fun activity with child or family, don’t make them think about it too much. Simplicity makes for an easier transition. Trust me, having to think about it will hurt. The brain under extreme or long-term stress suffers mind-blowing effects, literally!

Stress prevents the frontal cortex in the brain from processing and accessing stored or new information. When you ask, “What can you do to bring more connective fun into your daily lives?” and your client responds with,

  • “I just can’t think!” ,
  • “I’m so confused, I can’t sort it all out!” 
  • “I wouldn’t know where to begin.”

These statements reveal that the frontal cortex is overloaded, and is not immediately capable of making a clear decision. Thus, It makes sense that your client will have a hard time thinking of part or all of a creative plan for fun in the family. Additionally, it may be a case where they just don’t feel like doing it.

When parents are stressed and exhausted, it is difficult for them to ascertain where they will access all this new positive energy you are about to require of them. Coaches make considerations as to the neurophysiology of the parent, as well as the child. Therefore, parents must begin with the simplest of activities. Recall the analogy of the overfilled glass of water or the bucket ready to tip. Use these analogies to help your clients visualize or physically demonstrate where personal stress levels are for them and their child.

Focus on Being Goal Oriented

We are helping the parent to be goal oriented. We want parent’s to experience success and see the measure of their labors. We are not just filling them up with busy time activities because there is a purpose to every action they undertake. With this in mind we:

  • Begin by helping the parent to identify the end goal of the activity.
  • Ask the parent to articulate what they want.
    • They can write it down and then read it back to you. This way mind, heart, and body are fully engaged in the process.
  • What do they want to get? What will they give? What does the outcome look like, as in these four examples:
    • I want this activity to bring our family closer together.
    • I want this activity to help me feel better about my ability to parent in this difficult situation.
    • I want this activity to let my child know how much I love them.
    • This activity will help us communicate better and show that we can still have fun together.

Setting an end goal and keeping it in sight helps the parent to resist giving up when the first few attempts do not go well.

(The prior statement is a huge clue to each of you, that this is a process. Families will experience a learning curve depending upon the amount of conflict or stress in their environment, and with their child.)

  • Discuss a minimum period for a parent to engage actively with child or family. 15- 20 minutes is appropriate.

This recommendation is tailored to the family situation, and may have to be adjusted to meet the parent or child’s needs. For instance, 10 minutes of interaction is a lot for some parents or children, while 30 minutes is a great fit for other families to begin with. A joint determination of the period of time is made by parent and coach depending on the parent/child’s level of stress, and the ability to tolerate new interactions. Keep in mind, that additions to or changes in routines, and conditioned negative expectations of interactions between family members are all transitions, which upset the balance as the child or family knows it now.

Consistency and accountability affords greater success for parents.

See also: Behavioral Regulation 1 and Behavioral Regulation 3

 

Enroll Now in Coaching Families With Special Needs in Behavioral Regulation

Behavioral Regulation-3-Choose Successful Play Activities

Play Activities Contribute to Bonding & Regulation 

  • Coach, clinician, and parents choose an activity the parent believes will be most successful. 

That is, the parent believes they have the ability, skills and presence to initiate the activity, invite and prepare the child and family for positive interaction, and equally include each family member. The parenting coach and parent join in accessing and reinforcing abilities. For instance: Help the parent gauge stress levels and practice self-calming breathing before the activity.

Parent and Coach Role Play Words

  • Gathering the family, (“As soon as you complete your homework and Dad walks the dog, we will begin game night! You can make the popcorn!”)
  • Eliciting the child’s cooperation, (“Where do you want to sit so you will feel safe and comfortable? Do you want to sit near Mommy?”)
  • Words or phrases that convey inclusion, affection, or safety. (“We are glad you can join with us and play rather than stay alone in your room.”)

The parent must also be able to arrange the environment to facilitate their child’s success according to their child’s particular needs. For instance: Perhaps cell phones need to be turned off so as not to draw any family member away from the play activity. Kindles, tablets, gaming systems or other technology need to be put away to limit distraction. Positive ground rules or guidelines are established prior to beginning. This is what you, as a coach, will discuss with the parents before they introduce new activities to the family. You might ask them; “Looking ahead - What can you do to orchestrate success and help prevent a catastrophe?”

  • Can the parent pull from their resources and strategies to adjust the environment to help insure greater success?
  • What can the parent do to create safety?
  • Can the coach and parent pace an enjoyable game and then escalate the skills for a child over activities?

For example, if the parent knows their child has difficulty with close physical proximity to other family members, or, that their anxiety levels rise with increased expectations (even when they are positive in nature) resulting in undesirable behavior.

Attend to the Environment

  • Do lights need lowering?
  • Will soft music or deep breathing help with the regulation of excitement the child feels?
  • Does the child need to participate while sitting on a balance ball, or handling a fidget toy?
  • Does the child or family need a slower paced activity to begin, or one that will appropriately help release the child’s pent up energy?
  • Encourage parents to think like a kid!
  • Ask whether the parent is able to share a game or activity they remember loving when they were their child’s age. Again, this will be a challenge for some parents.
  • The coach encourages a parent to examine the roadblocks they experience preventing them from moving into a playful relationship with their child, rather than a blaming, grudging, and resentful relationship.

I mentioned earlier that some parent’s just don’t feel like participating. Fun! Bah, humbug! Consider this a normal reaction. It is the culmination of so much internal pain, hurt feelings and disappointment. It is part and parcel of the confusion and rejection the parent feels from the child, and perhaps, disappointment in themselves.

  • What is holding you back?
  • Where do your fears linger?
  • What could be the result when you decide to do this?
  • What will happen if you don’t do anything?

Regulate the parent first. Coaches help parents apply and practice self-calming, stress management and grounding or centering strategies by asking: What can you do right now, to organize and regulate your inner body and mind so you can make a clear decision you feel good about, and help your family to enjoy this time together?

Consistency and accountability affords greater success for parents.

See also: Behavioral Regulation 1 and Behavioral Regulation 2

Enroll Now in Coaching Families With Special Needs in Behavioral Regulation

Defiant Children’s Thinking Errors

4 Thinking Errors Defiant Children Use

We have all fallen victim to erroneous thinking. Sometimes we use it on purpose to make ourselves feel better about making a bad choice. Well, defiant children know how to use them to. However, if their errors in thinking are not challenged, they hold onto them and this can be detrimental later in life.

Children don't see things the same way that parents do. Without the benefit of years of experience, they act on emotion and instinct. In particular, defiant children want what they want and don't mind using negative tactics to get it from parents. It is all about them. Instead of evaluating a situation to see all sides, they only consider how they feel.

Children with mental disorders like Oppositional Defiant Disorder can get caught in a bad cycle. They start acting on these thinking errors and things spiral out of control from there. As long as you feed into their way of thinking with your behavior or responses, they will continue to manipulate, yell, scream, and terrorize others. The solution is to get help.

Thinking Errors Defiant Children Use

All of us have experienced erroneous thinking. Sometimes we use it on purpose to make ourselves feel better after making a wrong choice. However, one habit of defiant children is using such thinking errors as excuses or reasons for their desires or behaviors. As parents and parenting coaches, our role would be to challenge the error-prone thinking, lest it becomes habitual.

The Mind of a Child

Children and parents don't often see eye-to-eye. Children act on instinct and emotion. Parents respond from their years of experience. Children want what they want, and defiant kids and may use negative tactics to get what they want from you. Defiant children are absorbed in their needs. They are capable of knowing only how they feel at that moment, and they don't evaluate a situation to see all sides. They haven't matured to that point yet.

Children, diagnosed with a mental health issue, can get caught in a negative cycle. They start acting on these thinking errors, and a situation can quickly spiral out of control. If you feed into the thinking errors, then you also get caught up in their behavior. They could continue manipulation through yelling and screaming.They could terrorize everyone around them. The solution is to get help.

Parents Know These Four Thinking Errors

  1. The road to healing could be long; the first step is to understand your children.
  2. The second phase is to know how they think.
  3. The third step is to observe and understand how they get their way.

Injustice stance: This is the thought that the entire world is against the defiant child. When things don't go their way, then nothing is fair, and they shouldn' have to comply. This thinking translates into this kind of logic in your child's head: "School sucks. Therefore, I don't have to go."

A defiant child can also be passive-aggressive. If not heard, then moving too slowly in the morning means they get their way and stay home from school.

Pride in Negativity Stance: Defiant kids can convince themselves that they know more than their parents. Defiant kids are perfect for making their point in statements of which their parents aren't aware. They could say a lot of hurtful words. They learned how to steal something, or how to take drugs, or how to play mature video games they shouldn't be watching. Telling you that they don't know what you are talking about is to make you feel stupid, or to feel hurt that they have one up on you.

Dishonesty Stance: Kids do lie and will continue if parents don't catch them in the act and deal with the situation immediately. Any delay would be considered a victory scored by the defiant child. Defiant kids use lying, telling half-truths, and keeping secrets to deny that their bad behavior.

Victim Stance: As the last victim, a rebellious child blames someone else for what happens to them or for what they do. Even if they are the aggressor, the "other" person ís at fault always for what they had to say or what they did to victimize the defiant child.

Recognize the methods that rebellious kids use to justify their behavior. Teach them and help them to change their way of thinking.