BRAVE: A Lesson in Communication

I'm sure you've been in this scenario, you are on your favorite streaming service searching for something to watch. Well this happened to my family recently while we were on Disney+. We let my daughter have control and she settled on Brave. Now, some kind of princess movie is not normally high on my list, but while watching I saw a great illustration that I think can apply to all parents. I have to give you some context so stay with me for the payoff.

I’m not sure if you have seen this movie or not, but one of the story lines is the relationship between a girl and her mom (The Queen and the Princess). They are having some (a lot) of communication issues which lead to a huge fight. After the fight the Princess finds a witch who makes a potion to change the fate of Princess. This potion turns the Queen into a bear (definitely did not see that coming!!) And as a result the queen (now a bear) and the princess flee to the forest.

It is in the forest that the queen and the princess really start to communicate. There was not a lot of talking going on because the queen couldn’t talk as a bear, but for the first time the queen and princess got some insight into the other person.

Here’s the pay off: Sometimes we have to get away from the routine in order to truly start to communicate.

I think sometimes as parents we have a hard time communicating with our kids. And the struggles we face change as they get older. My struggles as a dad to communicate when my kids were 4 and 2 year are far different now that I've got a middle school boy, a 10 year old girl, and a 7 year old boy. But there are things that we can do to help us better communicate with our kids.

1) Go do something that they enjoy doing. Whatever they are into, be into. By doing this it will help you 1) know what they like and 2) this will give you insight on how to talk with them about it.

2) Go for a day or weekend trip. This gets you both out of the normal routine and almost forces you to communicate. But the trip itself will not create it. Do something you both have never done, try a new food together. The "what" doesn’t matter,  doing it together does. I was able to do this with my oldest son a few months ago and we still laugh at some of the stories that came out of that trip.

3) Resist the temptation to look at your phone/email/other distracting things. Make a pact with your child that for the time you are together your phones are in Do Not Disturb. THEN DO IT! We all need to disconnect sometime, especially when we are around our family.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how you can approach communicating differently with your child. Summer time can create the perfect time to try some different things in order to build better relations with our families. It does not have to be perfect, but I will say the results are worth the effort!

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