Miscommunication is a fork in the “relationship road” with the parents you serve. The way you handle it will either build or break the relationship.
You know that feeling when your ears get hot and your mouth goes dry and the blood seems to leave your face all at once?
Unfortunately, I get to experience that about every other day when I remember I forgot to pay the electricity bill that was due today, or I totally forgot the doctor appointment I made for 2 days ago.
I just got to feel that fabulous feeling a few moments ago when I opened my email and realized that my son missed his soccer camp! Not my fault, it was a miscommunication. I hate that word with a passion. Miscommunication. It would be a four letter word for me if it didn’t have so many darn letters in it! Seriously!
My life seems to be rife with miscommunication! Teachers, bosses, coaches, spouse, children, and even the dog are not immune to being on the receiving end of a missed, mixed up, or totally screwed up expectation on my end. Why can’t they just read my mind? Why can’t I read theirs?
Making the Most of Miscommunication
1) Just Breathe. Really. It is amazing how things look a little differently when we allow ourselves a few moments to breathe and release some of the pent up anger that is a reaction to an unfair accusation on the part of the parent. We will literally hold our breath and then breathe shallowly (is that even a word?) when we are stressed. Remember… In for 10 seconds…Out for 10 seconds.
2) Listen. Our initial reaction to any miscommunication is to defend ourselves and our actions. That keeps us from listening to what the other person is saying. In order to really listen, you can’t be formulating a response in your head. Hear their words. All of them.
3) Ask Questions to Clarify. Did they receive the email about the change of plans? Who did they speak with regarding this situation? Are they not capable of finding out the correct information for themselves? JUST KIDDING! But I know you are thinking it…
4) Be willing to apologize if the miscommunication was your fault. But don’t be a doormat either. We all know those parents that are unwilling to admit fault whether it is their’s or their teen’s. But that doesn’t mean you have to be the fall guy for them.
Don’t shy away from situations that have resulted because of poor communications. This is a great time to build some trust with the parents you serve. Guess I better call my son’s coach!
Before I go I have a treat for ya… One of our subscribers at www.parentministry.net has found a way to establish regular communication with Parents each week. I want to share an interview with Paul Eaker, so you can see how he did it.
Shellie Hochstetler encourages parents of teenagers daily at www.ParentMinistry.net and www.Parentzilla.com. She has survived raising 4 teenagers and in her own words, “they are extremely awesome”. She describes parenting as “terrifying but fulfilling, lonely while extremely loud, and completely exhausting while in the same breathe exhilarating!” Shellie lives in her dream home in Nashville, TN with her husband, kids, a horse, and some chickens.