Seminar Date: February 6, 2013

“How to Strengthen the Communication with your Teen or Young Adult” was the topic at this week’s Of One Mind’s free parent seminar in West Los Angeles. Richard B. Cohen LMFT, MAC, CCBT, CDVC, asked the parents “How do you become a safe person for someone to talk to?” Richard shared the importance of predictability. Consistency helps people to trust us and go deeper in their communication. Richard also encouraged the parents to listen, to let their child go first, and allow them to finish without interruption. Everyone will be heard. No one needs to dominate.

Richard noted that parents may feel the need to speak immediately due to the anxiety experienced over what they are hearing.  It’s more important to just listen.  It’s okay if your child is angry with you. It’s their anger and they are entitled to it. Richard encouraged parents to not get defensive and also warned not to communicate resentment silently with their body language such as eye rolling.

Richard then repeated the importance of actually listening to the other person. Being able to repeat back and clarify what you have heard. “You are important if someone listens to you. You are really important if someone remembers what you said.” This is especially true in the parent-child relationship. When a parent doesn’t remember what the child has said, this child may feel the parent doesn’t care and not share as much in the future.

Parents need to be very clear regarding what their agenda is with their children. “The rules of the game need to precede the game.” Richard then asked the parents what the rules were in their home if he were to move in. “Can I be disrespectful? Can I curse at you and still get my allowance? Do I have to clean up my dirty dishes?” Parents must let their children know exactly what behavior is expected as a family member in their home. And when that’s not followed it’s important to point it out right away as Richard warned “Whatever you tolerate will occur more and more often.”

Richard told the parents that when dealing with unacceptable behavior they need to be assertive not aggressive. An assertive person tells you what THEY are going to do. An aggressive person tells you what YOU are going to do. Richard also said that if things get too heated and family members aren’t listening to each other then stop and continue the conversation at a later time when everyone is calm.

Richard also recommended that parents pay acute attention to the smallest details. What he called “the opposite of ignoring.” Parents need to set limits and point it out to their child when their behavior isn’t congruent with the rules. Teach your children what your values are and then hold them accountable to it. Call out the behaviors you don’t like. Know what your agenda is. Don’t be mistreated.

Of One Mind will be repeating this same seminar topic next Wednesday night February 13th 2013 at 7pm at our Encino office located at 16501 Ventura Blvd. Suite 104. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to 818-465-9985 ext 113. Thank you!