Yesterday Andrea shared about how she and her oldest daughter created a “chat book” that they write notes to each other in where they talk about all manners of topics. I love this idea! It’s a great way to stay on top of things going on in your teen’s life, and what a keepsake treasure to look back on in years to come.
Reading Andrea’s post reinforced one of my closest held beliefs about communication in the parent/child relationship. Be faithful in the small things.
What does that look like? Does your daughter like to chat on the way to school about what her and her friends are doing during lunch? Does she like to tell you about her English teacher’s daughter’s gymnastic coach? Does she talk about how she wishes unicorns were real, or spend 20 minutes telling you what she wants for her birthday, like my daughter does? Let her talk all she wants. Listen, be focused, engaged, don’t interrupt or be judgmental. By being a good and safe listener in the small conversations, you are building equity for the bigger, more serious ones.
Look for gateway indicators that lead to more serious topics. Gateway indicators are conversation hints that lead to a bigger or more serious issue that your daughter may not feel comfortable approaching you about directly. Does your daughter ask vague questions about more serious topics? One of my friend’s daughters recently asked her if smoking marijuana could cause death. Because my friend is such a good listener, she had the foresight to dig a little deeper, rather than just give her daughter a quick answer. Because my friend took the time to ask some pointed and open-ended questions, she learned that one of her daughter’s friends had started smoking marijuana and was scared and worried about her friend.
What are some things you and your girl talk about? Have you ever picked up on some gateway indicators?