Scott Schimmel 0:20
Hey, welcome to another episode of The YouSchool podcast. I'm Scott Schimmel. Today we're talking about how to have better conversations with your kids. The reality is, we all want to connect with our kids, and we have limited time. The more, the older they get, the less time we have. Remember the, back in the day when we just spent all day long with them. We knew all of their friends. We knew their teachers by their first names. We ran their playdates. We, we controlled what they ate. I mean, but these days with teenagers, middle school, high school kids- they're off. You don't know who their friends are. You don't know who their teachers are. By and large, you don't really know what's going on in their world and you want to, but can't they be prickly little pears. That's a real nice way to say it, isn't it? Yeah, tell him dinner's ready. And you know, the dinner that you prepared for them, because you know that this is what they like. And they yell at you, or they show up late, or they just drag their feet. You leave a work meeting, a Zoom meeting early to be able to get to them on time, God forbid that they wait around for a few minutes, and they slammed the car door in frustration that you were a few minutes late. You remind them for the 12th time to make their bed in the morning before they leave for school. And they scream that they never have time to do anything. And you're always on top of them. You know, they're starving, they're tired. They hate their unfair teacher, they don't want to get dressed to have lunch with their grandma, they drag their feet to get in the car to go to the orthodontist, the orthodontist that you already spent $6,000 for. They don't wear their retainer. I mean, they're just yeah, you can call them prickly pears. Or worse- impolite, rude. And there's different responses that I have, and I'm sure you have when they are that way. Number one, let's say we're trying to, we're in the car with them. We've got a few minutes, and we ask them a question about their day. And we get something like that, or we sit down at dinner, and they're huffing and puffing or they got one earbud in and hood on. And so obviously one option, and I've done this many times, it's just to stop. Stop trying. Just leave them alone. Just carry on. Just turn up the music. Leave them alone. Not a bad response. We also tend to for me get annoyed. I yell back. I remind them how much when I was their age this or that. I tell them how much it costs to buy these stupid chicken nuggets that they like every day. I tell them that when I was a kid, and I had to have chili with big, thick tomatoes in it that I hated... Like, we just get annoyed right back at them. And that's normal. And I'm there all the time. We get, not only do we get annoyed, we feel rejected. Sometimes we actually really yearn to connect with them. And then they're either shut down or worse. And it just feels at a kind of real, honest level it feels like rejection. And then, what does it look like to reconsider our approach? That's what this episode is gonna get into. How do we reconsider our approach and have better conversations, better interactions for them and for us? Get what we want more connection, better conversations, understand more about what's going on in their life. Be a little bit more on the same page. That's... So take notes, buckle up, here we go. Big reality is you are hopefully, their safe place. They're carrying a lot. Please listen to previous episodes. Please read our blog to understand some insight into how much a typical teenager is carrying, not to mention extraordinary mental health challenges or problems your kids are facing, which many of you I'm sure are have kids like that. But every kid goes through a lot. Every kid has extra ordinary stress. Every kid's trying to figure out who they are, trying to make their way in the world. You are their safe place where they don't have to have it all contained. Imagine they're at school for 6, 7, 8 hours a day. They go to practice. They're trying to figure out what to wear in the morning. They're tired, and they're going to school in this very dangerous environment- dangerous in the sense that they might get rejected at any point. They have to go against their nature and listen to the instructions of their coaches and their teachers. They have to go with the flow at lunch and laugh at jokes they don't think are funny. I mean, there's a lot of stress. And when they finally get to you - the place where they don't have to be put together, they don't have to be proper polite. They don't have to really exercise self control that they have very little to begin with. You're going to experience oftentimes, it's not fair. It's not right. It's not cool, but you're going to experience the worst of them. That's reality, it's a reminder. So what does it look like for you? To ground yourself on the way to pick them up? What do you need to do to be in a good place - where you're not looking to them to fill your cup, or to, to let your hair down? You've been doing the same thing they have been doing going to meetings, you didn't want to go to, talking to, planning trips within laws you don't want to go on (I'm not speaking personally in case my mother in law's listening). Sucks, where we're going to get you to where We're doing the same thing, and our kids are our safe place. But they need us to be at our best. They deserve it, I think. So what is it like for you to ground yourself- listen to great music, do some breathing exercises, call a friend, read something that you enjoy. Get a drink that makes you happy. So that when you're with them, you can be with them? Consider, reconsider the timing of your questions? Chances are, you've made my mistake, the kid gets in the car, and you immediately turn because you're yearning to see how they're doing. Check in with him and you just go right into "How's your day? How's school? How are you doing? How's that math test?" I mean, chill. That's what they're trying to tell you - chill for a minute. Take a beat, back off. Here's, here's the PSA. Nobody likes to be interrogated. Everybody needs to transition. So have the music on. Say hello, warm greeting, and then shut up for a few minutes. Maybe the entire tri, trip home? I don't know, maybe the entire dinner? Just wait, wait a second. Don't take it personally. Because it's actually not about you. When you do have the right timing - curiosity win. Curiosity, not general "How was your day? How was school? What did you learn?" Those are bad questions. If you're curious, it'll lead you to good, better questions. I'm curious. Who did you sit with at lunch today? I'm curious. What was your teacher wearing? I'm curious. What did you all do in PE today? I'm curious. What are you learning in Spanish right now? I'm curious. How are you thinking about your friends from middle school compared to your friends in high school? Curiosity yields better questions. No lectures. Every kid in the world hates it. When you ask a question, and they answer, and then you respond with a lecture. Well, you know, you gotta get good grades. Well, you know that that's not the right way to treat people. Well, you know, if you're going to, if you're going to wear that, you're going to be cold all day. No lectures, because they're going to remember it. And the next time you ask a question, they're not going to answer because they don't trust you. No lectures. Finally, learn how to share stories about your day. I think a great transition to being curious and asking them good questions is to share a story from your day, an interesting story. I had the funniest thing happened today in a meeting- Someone totally forgot to unmute or forgot to mute and they're saying something totally inappropriate to their husband at home and I could... It was just crazy. Something bizarre happened today I saw it on Facebook, the neighborhood Facebook group, can you believe it? There was a coyote in someone's backyard. I mean, share a story with them, that can help deactivate some of the stress that they're experiencing. Transition to being present with you. Everybody loves a good story. And you're not imposing your agenda on them, you're just sharing a story. Finally, get better questions. Get better questions to ask that will yield better conversations. AB test these things. find better ways when you get in the car at dinner table to have more curious questions. And then when you find one, ask it again. Not every day but ask it again. Crowdsource these things. Ask your friends. What questions do you use with your kids that leads to good conversations, I would love to hear from you send a comment. If you're listening to this episode, send me an email. Shoot me a text if you got my number. I want to hear about the good questions that you're using. Because ultimately, all of us want to have better conversations and stronger connections with our kids. They need it, we want it. It's a it's such a profound part of my life is my kids, my relationships with them. So let's be thoughtful and reflective about them. Don't be lazy with our conversations. Don't be lazy with their interactions. Prepare for them like
we would for a presentation at work. Prep for them, like we would for a really intense moment or meeting, ground ourselves. Be thoughtful. Plan in advance, and then let it go when it doesn't go well. That's it. Hope this is helpful. I'd love to hear from you. And if you don't know this already, we got this on YouTube. If you're not watching, if you are Hello. If you're not, you can go and subscribe to YouTube. And we'll send you a reminder every time and notification every time there's a new episode. With that -here's to better conversations. Hey, thanks for joining in on The YouSchool podcast. We'd love to share with you the resources available on our website at theyouschool.com. Not just articles, ebooks, worksheets and other podcast episodes, but specifically you should know about a free course we have available called The Real Me course. It's digital, it's interactive, and it will guide you to get clear about who you are in the great story you could tell with your life. So go register for a free account and get started on The Real Me course today at theyouschool.com That's the you school dot com.
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