Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Grown Up Time" - How to talk/deal with adults (Pt. 1)


       There is going to come a time in our lives when, as parents of little people, we will eventually have to conversate with other adults, in regards to our needs and desires as parents to these beautiful kids we have. Whether that conversation is intended to inform, compliment or even criticize, how you go about it can be a decisive factor as to it's success, failure or (in worst case scenarios) complete and utter explosive ball of confusion and displacement.

        Reasoning with adults is difficult, to say the least. We have been raised by different people, usually have a different structure of family values, and as parents, we know what is right for our child. Right? But, what happens when someone you have put your trust in does something against your best wishes as a parent? What about when a family member acts in a way that is contrary to the way we would like our children treated? What happens when you, as a child care provider, have to talk to a parent about a tricky situation with their child?

       These are the situations we come across daily, in one light or another. And the execution of the conversation, the undertones, the midtones, the entire feeling behind your cause...all of these aspects have their role to play into whether or not your message is sent and recieved with the intention you first had.

Here are some keynotes when it comes to dealing with adults, whether they be a child's parent, a care giver to your child or even your child's adult relatives, when it comes to issues of your child and the care you & they administer (IE: how they act around your kid/s). Feel free to adjust as necessary to your situation:

 Always remember one initial rule of thumb when it comes to 
these skills and the possibility of volatile situations/conversations:
Don't have these discussions around the child. 
Their lives are stressful enough 
(especially at pick up/drop off - in child care)
it leads to confusion, 
and your tones 
(even if you don't mean to) 
can be scary to them.

        In my opinion, one of the worst things to experience in an adult relationship (parent/caregiver, parent/parent, parent/relative & vice versa) is for someone to feel like you are not listening to them and what they have to say. There are always two roles in a healthy conversation. There is the sender and the recipient. As the sender, it is always best if we are clear and concise as to our message (without shame or blame..."I feel" statements). As recipient, it is a good practice to repeat, in as kind and gentle a tone as possible (without shame or blame), exactly what the sender has spoken to you, afterwards asking them for more information, in order to bring a sense of validation to the sender that:

"Yes, I heard you, and this is what I heard you say. Tell me more."

This method of communication helps you as the recipient in three distinct ways. It helps by telling the sender that you actually heard what they said. If you misheard, it allows the sender the ability to correct what you said and restate their cause.And finally, it sends the message that you are genuinely interested in hearing more of what they have to say.
In addition, as recipient during a conversation, eye contact is a good way of showing you are paying attention to the sender. Never try and "fix" the situation after the sender states the issue. At times, these conversations can be lengthy, some lasting days, if not weeks, to finalize a secure solution (one that both parties can agree upon). Merely appreciate and validate, by repeating

The worst thing you could do to another parent/child care worker/relative is for you to sugarcoat how you feel when confronting them about how to act and administer care around the child. This can be a tad bit tricky, depending on who exactly you are speaking with.

            Always try, whenever possible, to mention something about the issue as soon as the issue comes up. This doesn't mean jumping down someone's throat in the heat of the moment. If you are finding that you are upset about the issue at hand, take a moment and breathe before saying something. If you do that, and you are still upset, step back, take another breath, and ask if there is a good time in the future where you can speak to them about something involving the child. This allows you a bit of space between moments. If they say something to the effect of:
"Now is good for me!"
and "now" is not good for you, let them know you can't talk about it right then and there and either move on to something different or take a walk, get some space, etc. Always a best idea to leave a statement like that for when you can make an exit without seeming rude or like you are trying to run away, like when you are actually leaving to a different destination.

Food for thought:
Research has shown that it takes 5 positive interactions to neutralize 1 negative interaction. Whether it be an insult, a lie, not showing up on time, whatever the case may be. In addition, it takes 20 positives to 1 negative to equal true happiness. 

This is only the beginning of making sure both parties are treated with respect and honesty. be continued...



  1. Wait, "conversate"? I hope that was tongue-in-cheek!! But thanks for a great article in any case.

    1. Very tongue-in-cheek ;) But, I will admit that there was a time that the "fear of talking to parents" was a reality for me, hence the identification and relation!