Communication with your parents is supposedly the easiest activity. When we are born we connect to them through our cries, screams, smile, and laughter and then they wait for an eternity to hear us utter our first word. They enjoy our garbled utterances and start teaching us language. A language that helps us communicate with them, siblings and family. We start to communicate our feelings and emotions through the language taught by our parents.
When I was growing up, I shared a strong bond with my parents. It was never that we didn’t have differences, but I was always very verbal about what I wanted. And they were always supportive of my decisions. At a time when I was naïve and reckless, getting the support of my parents was something that turned me into a confident woman. I chose my subjects by myself, and chose to become what I wanted to. All this would never have been possible if I had not been able to communicate my feelings to them effectively.
When I sit for counselling sessions at MINDLER, I see a lack of effective communication between parents and children. More than half their problems arise because of this pressing issue. And this affects not just their personal relationships, but all aspects of their life, including career. Students often tell me, “I want to be in fashion, but my parents want me to choose medicine!” And when asked about their strategy about dealing with such matters, they have no answer, or simply say that their parents do not understand. And I am like, “Did you try to make them understand that this is something that will affect the rest of your life?”
Whatever the reason may be for not conveying your feelings, I find it utterly disturbing that we have stopped making efforts to make our parents understand us. We place no value in what they have to say. Why? Because we feel we are resourceful enough to make our own choices. We would rather feel comfortable in asking for advice from our peers, or even that distant cousin who was nice to us that one time we met last year. So whose fault is it exactly? I personally feel both the parties are equally at fault, and believe me when I say that some parents behave like 10-years old. It is really important to share our thoughts with our parents and it doesn’t take much to do that. They are our parents after all.
So what can you do to solve the issue? Here are 5 things you should focus on if you wish to communicate effectively with them. Once you incorporate these little things in your daily routine, you will find it increasingly easy to talk and vent your feelings in front of them.
1. Know that they Love you!
This is the most important thing that you need to know. They have taken care of you since you were a little baby. They are always there for you, even the times when you behave unreasonably. They might not express their love in so many words, and may even scold you but at the end of the day, but you are their priority. So you need not worry about them not caring enough about you or your career, because they are constantly thinking about ways to make your future better.
2. Engage with them and understand their take on things
I agree they are from a different time and you feel they may not understand your perspective. But it is important you sit with them and understand their take on life. When you sit with them and listen to them talk, you will be amazed that they can give you some wonderful insights into your life, relationships and most importantly, Your CAREER!
3. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it!
When you are planning to tell them that you want to become a DJ when all they have wanted is for you to wear that white coat, it is important that you remain calm at all times. We know it is your dream to be what you want to be, but know that it was also their dream to see you succeed. So it would be better to let them know your thoughts in the most calm and logical manner. If you just start yelling about how the world will come to an end if you don’t become a DJ, chances are they will flip out too. Thus, you should learn the difference between giving out information and getting through to your folks.
4. Find activities to do together
If you think you cannot communicate with them because you have nothing in common, think again. You share the same DNA and surely there are things that all of you enjoy doing. It may be love for a particular author, a favorite song or movie, or even an annoying habit. As long as you can find something and bond over it, your life will be much easier and taking decisions will become a collective task for your family.
5. Communicate Your Respect At All Times
Communicating respect is about subtly letting your parents know that their experience is valuable to you, and it doesn’t matter which part of the world you fly off to, their values and morals are deeply ingrained in you. Let them know that they are respected, through words or gestures. Small gestures like keeping your phone aside when you talk to them, asking about their day and activities, asking their opinions on little things happening in your school or college are all ways to make the feel valued. The decision can be yours in the end, but doing this will definitely earn you extra points.
To sum up, I feel that the essence of effective communication lies in the beautiful expression – “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said”.
Have anything to add? Post in the comments below!