Communicating

Introduction

Communication is a process when something is conveyed between two persons. Communication can also occur within a group or groups. When an idea, thought or feeling is shared between a person with another and elicit a response, then the two persons are said to be communicating with one another. Verbal communication involves sharing of ideas or thought expressed through words and non verbal communication involves the sharing of feeling which usually expressed through body language. People learn about your thoughts through verbal communication and your feelings through non verbal communication. Communication is very important throughout life and especially crucial during adolescence. Through communication an adolescent is able to express him/herself clearly and not misunderstood. Communication also helps others to understand what you think or feel. On many occasions, problems and conflicts can be resolved through effective communication. Effective communication involves both good listening and honest sharing about what is in your mind. Good listeners often show a genuine interest in what the other person is saying.

Important

Many studies have shown a positive relationship between how parents communicate with an adolescent and their outcomes. Effective communication that took place between parents or adults with an adolescent results in high level of confidence and self esteem, good academic achievement, assertiveness, and good mental well being. More significantly, well adjusted adolescents have been linked to a balance between positive and negative communications they had had with their parents. The way family communicates can contribute to the general atmosphere of the family’s day to day interactions.

Developing skill

Learn to use active listening skills with your adolescent. After some practice, introduce your family to the idea of using effective communication skills described in the guidelines shown here. Take turns to practice becoming a good listener. You can then see the difference what good communication skills can do to your family!

Tips Guidelines for Effective Communication

Consider the following tips, and how you might use them to improve your family’s communication skills. Show a genuine interest when a conversation is taking place.

  • Look and act interested. Be genuinely interested. Do not forget
  • Remember this! To create an atmosphere this is suitable for the adolescent to feel free to talk

Stay focused

  • Be patient and allow plenty of time for communication to happen
  • Do not use this time to interrupt with one of your own stories
  • Adolescent wants to feel important

Stop talking You cannot listen to what your adolescent is saying if you are busy talking too.

Listen actively

  • An active listener summarizes the speaker’s statements to check for understanding
  • Do not hesitate to ask questions in order to keep the conversation moving
  • By asking for more details, you will help to stay focused on the topic
  • Besides this encourages your adolescent to continue communicating and show that you are actively listening

Match your adolescent emotional state, unless it is hostile

  • You will help your adolescent to feel comfortable and accepted if you match his or her mood
  • Your effort also shows that you are empathic and reassuring
  • You convey a message that you understand about what is being said or expressed and you can identify with your adolescent clearly

Withhold advice unless you are asked to give it

  • Listen to what your adolescent want to express
  • Do not interrupt or add your opinions until he/she has finished
  • Your job is to listen with understanding and not to make judgment calls
  • If you need to criticize or advice do it constructively
  • Do not erode your adolescent’s confidence in communicating with you

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes

  • Parent should make extra efforts to understand adolescents from their perspective
  • This shows that you respect his or her point of view, even though you may not agree with it

Be patient and hold your temper

  • When you feel angry you may pick up the wrong meaning of what is being expressed by an adolescent
  • You may want to count to ten before you respond
  • This will create an opportunity for you to compose yourself and avoid losing your cool

Encourage your adolescent to communicate further

  • Even when you are in the middle of a sensitive or emotionally charged topic, let your adolescent know that you still care about communicating with him or her
  • Think of something you like about him or her
  • Encourage your adolescent to continue talking
  • Being silent is OK but not too much as it may kill an effective communication

Be pleasant

  • Keep the conversation positive by talking about how you might want your adolescent to solve the problem
  • Do not get entangled in past mistakes
  • Look for the positive side of the message
  • Staying positive will help keep the conversation productive and constructive

References

Forgatch, M., & Patterson, G. (1989).Parents and Adolescents Living Together: Part 2: Family Problem Solving. Eugene, Oregon: Castalia Publishing Company. Noller, P. & Bagi, S. (1985). Parent-adolescent communication. Journal of Adolescence, 8, 125-144.

Last Reviewed : 05 March 2008
Writer : En. Lee Boon Hock