The Connection Exercise is a free powerful tool that can be used in any relationship when there is misunderstanding. It will bring deeper appreciation and support as parents and students navigate through the often daunting crossroads of leaving school. Many students report conflict with their parents at this challenging time. This is a common response I hear regularly from high school students:
‘Trying to please my parents will always be hard because we have very different values and views in life. However, I know they only want the best for me. I’m just not sure what to do to keep them happy and avoid conflict at home.’
An 18-year-old student
As parents, we only want the very best for our children. We want them to lead happy, healthy, rewarding lives, but we don’t always know what that may look like for them or how to help them achieve that.
Our children grow from dependence to independence. The teenage stage may just be the trickiest in-between bit as they transition from one level of independence to the next. Many parents find it difficult to let go as their children mature and this can create tension and misunderstanding. Developing effective communication and trust is the key to getting through this friction. Understanding your teen’s unique needs and knowing how to communicate well is vital to the relationship you have. You most likely want different things and you both have differing needs and ideas.
How do you help them get what’s best for them while allowing them the freedom they seek as they venture into independence?
What if what you think is best for them differs from what they think?
How do you effectively communicate with and support your transitioning teen in challenging times?
Listening to our kids is the first step in dealing with this common issue. Knowing what your child values most and how they define success is important in developing effective and engaging communication strategies. Understanding each other’s priorities is fundamental to understanding each other and supporting your child.
The below exercise will help you get in sync with your child, gain a closer understanding of their needs and find out how you can support them to be their best self. I encourage all parents to make time to do this exercise with their teens. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect closely and build trust together. Keep an open mind as you go through this exercise together. Be prepared to strengthen and deepen your relationship.
There are 2 parts to the Connection Exercise. Find a pen and notebook. Allow an hour to complete.