by Kathleen McCoy, Ph.D.
Communication barriers are habits that get in the way of good parenting communication. These include:
Labeling and belittling. Saying things like, "What do you know? You're just a kid!" or "You're a disappointment to me." This paves the way for total lack of communication.
Ordering, prescribing and lecturing. Saying things like, "Do it because I said so" or "Stop feeling sorry for yourself." The teen stops listening, no one gets heard, everyone is angry and nothing gets solved.
Filibustering. You take the conversation ball and run with it, silencing everyone else.
Taking over the problem. You make your teen's problem yours, habitually overreact and make your teen afraid to tell you anything.
Mixed messages. This can be encouragement with negative undertones. Saying "You have so much potential", may sound like "You're nothing special right now."
Try breaking these bad emotional habits. Being there for your child and listening with empathy and love will break down these barriers.
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Last modified: Oct 24, 1995