I have just dropped off my son at uni this morning. It was just a 20 minute drive, but I offered to take him. I often offer to drive my children to school/uni or their friends’ places where possible. It is not that I am being over protective, but I find that this is the best time for me to have the really good conversations with them…Yes, conversations in the car!
I find that when we are at home, there are so many things that distract our attention – such as cooking, cleaning, my children’s home work, my work, telephone calls, my children’s socialising, and most of the time, they are studying in their room. The only time then that we can have a conversation on weekdays is during dinner time. However, the dinner conversation is only limited to what’s happening during the day or current affairs; but to really have a GOOD one-on-one conversation, for me, it has to be in the car!
Do you agree that you tend to have a better conversation with your children in the car? I would love to know your thoughts and share your experiences through our Facebook http://www.facebook.com/GoParents
For me, it is because in the car, no one can leave and so you sit down and enjoy the drive. Have a soft music in the background, and you can start with any conversation with …:
How are you coping with your school work?
What do you think about __________
What do you think if we were to __________
Have you thought of your holiday plans for the end of this year? What would you like to do?
How is your friend, so and so? Have not heard you mention him or her for a while? What is he or she doing now?
How do you like the subject ______ ?
How would you like to celebrate your birthday? Who would you like to invite to a party? How many people?
From the questions above, you can really start GREAT conversations; it is from these conversations that you are going to truly understand what your child/children are feeling and thinking, and what are the issues they are experiencing right now.
Let me give you an example, if you were to ask “How is your friend, so and so? Have not heard you mention him or her for a while? What is he or she doing now?” If your child replies “so so I think…I have not heard from him/her for a while…not sure what he/she is doing and I don’t care…”
From that reply, you can sense there is some tension in the sentence. If you know that they were good friends before and they are not communicating right now, there may be something that is troubling your child, and he or she is finding it difficult to express. Now would be a GOOD time to explore the point a bit more!
Another example is that if you were to ask “How are you coping with your school work?” and the reply from your child is “Oh..it is OK. The marks are ok, they are not great, but this is because I have a terrible teacher, who is unhelpful, very cranky and a dumb teacher!…”, with this answer, your warning “antenna” should be working at full speed. You may proceed to ask “Let’s explore this a little shall we? Why is the teacher dumb? Under what circumstances is he/she cranky?”… and so on.
From a simple question, you can expand the conversation and find out what’s happening in your child’s life. It does not matter how much time you spend on the conversation, it is about the QUALITY of the conversation. Asking and listening mean you can connect.
By the end of the day, it is your responsibility to understand your child, and help and guide them in any way you can. Your child needs to know that you are listening to them and that you understand what they are going through.
So start your conversation right now!