— Podcast

Ep #131: Creating a safe place for kids to talk about hard topics


Creating a safe space where our children can talk about anything takes work but is incredibly important in building and strengthening our relationships.

Our kids will have questions about complex topics, and if they don’t feel they can come to us, they will seek out answers elsewhere and may get information that is incorrect or goes against our belief system.

Children ask difficult questions because they are trying to make sense of the world and their place in it. We want our kids to feel comfortable asking difficult questions and need to permit them to do so.

We understand that sometimes these complex topics are triggering and can cause parents to have an emotional response or to shut down. As parents, we want to create gates, not walls, when our children approach us. Gates allow us to guide and understand where walls teach our children that what they are curious about is a problem.

The skill of Effective Communication helps parents create those gates by helping both parties feel listened to and understood. Effective Communication works with children of all ages and can be used when discussing any topics. When parents use Effective Communication, they permit their children to talk about important things to them, which, in turn,  fortifies their relationship.

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Podcast Transcript

The transcript text is below. You can also download the PDF file of the transcript here.

This is episode 131.


We welcome you to The ADHD Smarter Parenting Podcast. Here to heal and elevate lives is your Parenting Coach, Siope Kinikini.


Well, hello, my friends. How are you? I hope you’re doing well. Thank you for joining me today, wherever you may be in the world. It’s always great to be here during this podcast, and I’m super excited about today because we are going to be addressing a question that came up during a coaching session that we had from Annette, and she’s a mother who has a teenage daughter, who she feels like they’re just not communicating anymore. She was concerned about this retreat her daughter was going through—this almost like isolation from communicating with Annette about what’s happening in her life.


Annette has tried multiple ways to try and connect with her daughter, but for some reason, there is just this apprehension to share things. So we’ll be talking about Annette and her teenage daughter during this podcast, and the focus is how do we create an environment where a child feel safe to discuss difficult topics with their parents? What can parents do in order to help their children feel more comfortable coming to them and talking to them about problems, and issues, and friends, and things that they’re struggling to understand?


This is a pivotal moment for a lot of parents because we have younger children who are observing us, and they’re learning communication styles. As they get older and they start to experience the world, things change, and so a lot of kids struggle. They’re trying to make sense of the world, and they need a safe place to do that.

I can’t think of a better place for children to feel safe than in their own homes with their parents because if they don’t feel safe communicating with a parent or with a grandparent, they’re going to look for answers outside of that environment those relationships.

That can cause some major problems because they may be speaking to somebody with completely different values or someone who may have an alternative way of looking at things that may actually be harmful. So it’s better for children to be able to feel safe in communicating with their parents about what is happening.

So this podcast today centers around this whole concept of how do we create a safe space for a child to come and communicate with a parent about something that they’re struggling with, or that they are working through, or what is happening in their lives.

I’m grateful for Annette. Thank you, Annette. I’m giving you a shout-out for letting me share a little bit about our coaching session and also our discussion about what’s been going on.

Now, Annette had called in just stating that when her daughter was young, Annette was going through some difficulties with her relationship. So Annette is a single mother, and she’s raising her daughter. So communication was pretty good. I mean, she was a fairly obedient child, and she followed through with things that Annette expected of her.

They were typical mother-daughter. They argued a bit. But as her daughter started to get older and started to become more exposed to the world, to school, and to friends, and to the outside world, her mother has noticed that her daughter has become more withdrawn. This is only part of it because in our discussion, Annette also mentioned that her daughter started to change. Like there were certain things happening that she could see externally that caused her to feel like, “We need to talk.”

So she noticed a change in the type of clothing she would wear, how she would present herself, different things that she would say, which she’d normally wouldn’t say, and almost an aggressive nature in their communication. So she started to notice these changes, and she thought something is going on.

Annette went to her room to talk to her and said, “Hey, we need to talk.” She found that her daughter was isolating and didn’t respond to questions, didn’t want to answer any questions at all from her mother, which caused her even more concern.

So she started to do what most parents do, and she looked on the internet to find some solutions on how to communicate with her child. So she tried some of those techniques that were on there.

Fortunately, she’s been listening to this podcast for a while, and so she connected through our coaching. So that’s how we were able to connect and talk. This is one of the benefits of coaching is that we are able to go deeper into what is happening because we can have an exchange in our communication about everything that’s going on in the home.

Annette calls up, and she was like, “Hey, I have this daughter. I feel like we need to communicate about what’s happening in her life. I’m concerned. I have worries. I have some real deep-seated worries, but she just won’t communicate with me. She won’t talk to me.” So we started to dig a little bit deeper into the dynamics of the relationship, and we started to talk about the emotional response and what she can do. What are things Annette can do to establish safety in the home?

This podcast is going to cover those items. We’re going to talk about, in what ways do parents create an environment in their home for children to communicate with them?

We’re going to talk about emotional control. This is what parents need to be able to do when confronted with some difficult news or something that’s hard for a child to discuss.

Then, the last thing that we’re going to focus on is what you can do as a parent in order to improve your communication with your child.

Now, the benefit of doing this is you can apply this to younger children as well as to teenagers. We’ll be talking about Annette and her teenage daughter. But the earlier you can start to implement these skills, especially the skill of Effective Communication, the better off you’re going to be because it’s going to be easier for your child to adapt to the changing world around them.

So these are the topics we are going to cover in this podcast.

By the time we are done, you should have a pretty firm knowledge of how you can implement this in your home not only with your child, but with anyone else because this skill, Effective Communication, can be helpful for you at work with coworkers, with extended family, with neighbors. I mean, really, communication is the way that we function in the world, and to be able to do it well and to do it really, really well, that’s a skill. It’s an absolute skill that you need to master and that you can model and help your child master.

Now, the skill of Effective Communication can be found on the Smarter Parenting website. So if you haven’t jumped over there, jump over there, SmarterParenting.com, and you will be able to watch a video, a lesson on it. The video lesson is roughly around six, seven minutes long, and the video itself has a parent explaining what the skill is.

Then, you get to see what the steps are and also examples of parents using it with their children, following the steps, and how effective it can be in opening up communication about what is happening. So very, very important. SmarterParenting.com. Jump over there. Check it out. If you have additional questions, send them over. I would love to answer these questions for you.

I love podcasts. Let me tell you why is because podcasts allow me to really go more in-depth on how to implement these skills and how to help parents help their children. So by the end of this podcast, I want you to be able to use this, to know how to use it, and to begin using it today. So that’s my challenge to you is you need to start using this today. I’m going to go over the three things we’re going to be discussing during this podcast again, just so you’re clear.

We’re going to talk about how parents create an environment for communication in their home. The second thing is we’re going to talk about the emotional control of a parent. So this is specifically for you as a parent, and then the third thing is, what can you do in order to improve communication with your family? We’ll go over the skill of Effective Communication. Super excited to talk about this today.

Before we begin this whole process because it’s going to be an interesting process, that’s for sure, we need to take a break, and so here we go.

Do you need to take a parenting class? Do you need a certificate for that parenting class? Sign up for our online parenting class. Watch our lesson videos, complete quizzes, and download class assignments all from your home. Visit the Smarter Parenting website under the “Coaching” tab, and sign up for the Silver, Gold, or Platinum level to access the class.

Okay. Welcome back. Welcome back. Okay. So let’s talk about created environments, in what ways parents create the environment for communication in their home. Now, you need to understand that when a child joins a family when a child is in a family, they are learning how to do things by watching what the parents do, and what the parents do is essential for their understanding of how safe they feel in that environment.

So let me repeat that. What you do as a parent will establish how safe a child feels in the environment. If you yell a lot in your home and you are yelling consistently, that establishes this level of where a child feels like, “Okay. Yelling is okay as a way of communication.” So they adopt these things that parents are doing and these communication styles within the home environment based off of what they observe.

You don’t have to sit with a child and explain how it works in the family. In fact, what they do is they are sponges. They’re absorbing everything around them, and they may try to make sense of it. So again, if you yell quite a bit in your home, your child may have a predisposition to yelling as a form of communication. That may just be something that they do.

Whereas in a different home, you may have parents that speak extremely soft. Then, that child learns, “Okay. This is how we communicate.” They learn it by what they see and observe, and then they practice it to see if it’s safe.

Children are constantly doing this battle between, “Am I safe in this space, or am I being rejected emotionally somehow?” Whether or not that’s a parent verbally saying, “Stop it,” or yelling at them, or making them feel uncomfortable, children start to establish these boundaries around what is safe to communicate and what is not safe to communicate.

Now, this goes along with joking as well. So if you are joking around about something, that establishes a boundary. I like to think of it as every time parents communicate and interact with their child, they’re either setting up a fence or a gate. Okay? So think about that.

You can establish a fence or a gate every time that you communicate and your child is watching what’s happening. Either the fence is going to say, “Stop here. This is as far as it goes, and it’s not safe beyond this point because I am going to yell at you, scream at you, make you feel uncomfortable, make you feel unsafe.” So the child knows, “Okay. I can only go this far.”

In another way, a parent can establish a gate when something happens in their communication. The gate allows for room to explore. It allows the child to come in, look around, figure things out, and allows the parent also the opportunity to go on the other side, and help the child, and guide them along the process.

So parents are constantly negotiating this idea of, “Hey, I’m working with my child. My child does something, and in my communication, am I building a fence, or am I building a gate? Am I allowing my child some flexibility to learn and so we can communicate about difficult topics, or am I establishing a line that says, ‘We don’t talk about these things. This is where the line is drawn, and you are not safe beyond this place?'” So I want you to think about that.

I mentioned joking is something that happens. Yeah. You can joke about something and make fun of something, and that sets a fence up for your child that says, “Okay. If we talk about this topic, my dad is making fun of it, but I want to talk about this topic. I’d better not talk to my parent about that because it’s not serious to them, and it’s dangerous. I go in there, and they just start mocking me and making fun of the topic. I don’t know if I want to talk to them about that.” Okay?

We all grew up in these environments. Our parents, the way they communicate directly influenced the way that we learn how to communicate. Now, whether or not we mimic what they do is a decision, and this is the beauty of being a human. We can choose to be like them, or we can choose to be completely different. Yet, we will still be influenced by those communication styles.

Just be aware that when you’re interacting with your child, there is an environment that you’re creating about the safety of communicating regarding safe topics. “What are safe topics to talk about? Where do I stop because my parent may freak out, or they may just lose it, and I just don’t feel safe talking about that?”

Now, if you’re wondering what that looks like, I want you to just think back to your parents. For us as adults, we have the benefit of looking into the past and evaluating the past. By being able to do this, we know that our parents set up fences around certain topics. There were certain things that were safe to talk about, and there were certain things we just knew we should never broach. We don’t talk about certain things.

I’ve seen it in every family. There are difficulties sometimes that arise when a child needs to communicate about something, and the parent is just not open to it. It’s not open to discussing it, or exploring it, or helping the child find their way through it. They just say, “No, we don’t talk about that.” That’s such a heartbreaking thing if you think about it because really, we want to be the safe place our children come to in order to communicate these difficult things. Okay?

So with Annette, we started talking about, “What environment did you create?” She and I went into the past and what she did as a parent. There were certain things that she set up that said, “We don’t talk about this. We’re not going to talk about this. This isn’t a safe topic.” We outlined what those topics were.

In our evaluation, we realized that the child had to set up a fence around Annette that made her very aware that there are certain things she couldn’t talk about. It almost made it as if they were cut off from each other. So as her child is growing and experiencing the world around her, there were things that she wanted to talk about, obviously, but wasn’t able to talk about. You created this environment. How do we start breaking down the fence and opening it up to gates?

This is something that’s super important for parents to understand. As your child grows older, if you have only established fences and things that are uncomfortable, and you just don’t want to address or talk about, and you don’t want your children to talk about it, what happens is, is your child will look outside for support to try and understand things. They just won’t sit there and wait for you. So you need to know that.

What happens is it may become a fence that is unfortunately so strong that your child may never come to you when they have a problem or may never come to you when they want to talk about something that’s deep or meaningful. They’ll just keep everything at surface level, and I’ve seen it.

I’ve seen families exist on a surface level. They only talk about a thin layer of things that are of mutual interest, and they get along, but they’re not really friends. They’re not really family. Their relationships are very thin, and it’s sad. It’s super sad.

You want to establish gates. Everything can be open and talked about. Everything can be talked about between parent and child, and the parent is the one that’s going to gauge, “How do we talk about these things, and how do we work through them?”

So as I was talking to Annette and we established that she set up these fences, we decided to focus on how we could replace those fence panels that are around her, how could we replace those with some gates because if we can open up one gate and allow a little bit of freedom in there, the rest will come tumbling down. So we focused on areas that were most helpful to talk about and things that she could talk about with her child that were difficult that she normally wouldn’t talk to her child about.

One of those things was about her father. So Annette established this rule she wasn’t going to talk about him, and she just didn’t want to deal with that, and so it set up a fence. So her daughter didn’t know much and didn’t know how to broach the topic of talking about her father.

It’s as easy as having Annette approach her and say, “Okay. Let’s talk about this. Let’s explore this a little bit,” because her daughter had always had questions but was continually shut out and eventually just stopped asking. So it was difficult, but we started to talk, Annette and I, about how we can create a gate in here.

So that brings me to the next point, the emotional control that a parent needs to have. One thing I noticed in a lot of parents is their reaction to things. So it is so essential that parents underreact to things that are uncomfortable with their children because when you overreact, what you’re doing is you’re drawing a line and saying, “Here’s where I’m going to put my fence.” What you need to do is underreact. So we practiced this together with Annette and I. We practiced this. “What are some questions that she could ask that wouldn’t make you feel super uncomfortable?” I began asking her those questions to see what she felt when I would ask those questions.

We practiced it back and forth, which is another skill we use on Smarter Parenting. It’s called Role-play. You can see that video lesson on the SmarterParenting.com website. So jump over there and check that one out because it’s super important, but let’s talk about emotional control. What I told her is to before responding to anything, just to keep a pleasant neutral face. Okay? You don’t want your face giving away that you’re uncomfortable, or angry, or upset.

You want to have a neutral face, whatever that may look like for you, and you want to take a deep breath. Take a deep breath in, and then let it out, and then begin to answer the question. Answer the question. Don’t meander and come up with your own solutions, and try it, and escape away anything. But if there’s a legitimate question there, answer the question. It can be a short answer. It could be a long answer, but don’t try and justify anything. Just answer the question.

So we rehearsed this, and in talking to Annette, she’s like, “How do I control myself? Because I just feel overwhelmed? If she asked me like 10 questions, that’s going to be hard for me.” I said, “You know what? You can actually pace this. What you do is you go into the room where your child is or wherever, and you can say, ‘Hey, let’s talk about dad. You’ve had questions in the past. So I want to be open and forthright, and I want to answer any questions you have if you have any. If you don’t have any right now and you want to write them out, that’s great. We’ll talk about them, but we’ll only do three questions at a time. So we’ll do three questions now. We’ll do three questions next week.'”

She can set the pace of how many questions she’s going to answer. It doesn’t have to be a long discussion. Oftentimes, when children feel safe enough, one question will last an hour because they start asking more questions within that question. So what we’re doing is establishing a safe place where we can put up a gate that allows some flexibility for the child to come into that space and for the parent to go out of that space so they can navigate everything together. Okay? Rather than a fence where it’s just, “This is the end. We’re not going to go beyond this. Boom, boom, boom.” Okay?

For parents, my suggestion is you need to underreact to things that make you frustrated, angry, or upset. Underreact because your reaction is an automatic line drawn there that says, “This is a fence,” and it doesn’t allow for some flexibility for teaching and learning to happen between the two of you. Every opportunity that you have with your child is an opportunity to connect, and so you want to connect. You want to find ways to make connections with your children.

All right. So we’ve talked about the environment that parents create, and they create that by their communication style. They also create the environment by things they’re uncomfortable talking about and shutting children down. So children learn to build up a fence there and say, “It’s not safe beyond this point.”

Then, we talked about emotional control. We talked about how can we, as parents better communicate with our children. First is learning to control yourself, underreacting to things that make you angry, frustrated, or upset. You need to underreact. Okay? Because when you underreact, your child is like, “Okay. They’re not freaking out. Okay. We can talk about this,” and then being open answering questions.

You want to answer the questions, whatever question it may be, and you can set that up tone for this. You can say, “Hey, we’re only going to do three questions right now. We’ll come back. We’ll talk about it more.” There are so many benefits of doing that. First, you weren’t adding a lot of pressure to your child to do it that way. You’re also extending this idea that, “Hey, this is an ongoing conversation between us, and we’ll be talking more about it in the future.” So it makes this line of connection, and children, once they feel like they’re being understood and they’re feeling connected, they can begin to open up more.

Annette and I explored this area during our coaching session, and I challenged her to approach her daughter, and open up, and start talking about this. Now, in addition to this, I wanted her to know exactly how to do it. So how to do it is the skill of Effective Communication. You’ve been communicating for a long time. I get it.

You’re probably like, “I’m a great communicator.” Some people even say, “Hey, I have a degree in communications. I think I know how to talk.” Yeah, you do. But when we make it very simple and reliable and something that a child can follow, it actually reinforces the idea of communication is more than just listening and responding. It’s coming to mutual understanding of where someone is at.

So there are steps. There are only six steps to Effective Communication.

Number one, you want to look at your child. Okay? So you want to let them know that you are paying attention and that they are your focus. So you want to be focused on your child.

Number two, you want to listen, but you want to use their words and repeat back what you understood from what they said. So using their words, if they’re like, “Well, I went to the store today,” you’d be looking at them. Then, step number two would be like, “Oh, so you went to the store today.”

Then, clarify. You need to be sure that your child feels understood in step number three, which is clarify. So then, you would follow up with, “Is that right? Is that correct?” Then, you would wait for your child to say, “Yeah, that that’s what I did,” and they would nod their head yes. There’s a lot of ways that they’re going to say, “Yeah.” Okay? If you’re wrong, they’re going to tell you. They’re going to be like, “No, that’s not what I said.” So you want to clarify in step number three.

Step number four is you can then state your thoughts. Now, if you notice, step number four is the first time that you are going to share your thoughts and ideas about what you think. So you’re going to allow your child some room here to express and to talk. You’re going to use their words, so you’re on the same page. You’re going to clarify with them. “Okay. Is this what you mean? If I’m off, I want to be sure I understand.”

Then, step number five is then you can share what you think about it. Then, you want to have the child reflect back. In this case, they are going to repeat what they understood from that communication, from what you were saying. So you want to be sure that the child comprehends you as well.

Then, if you need to resolve an issue, you want to come to a solution.

So those are the six steps. Let me explain how it looks if I were to communicate. I would say, “Okay.” So I’m looking at my child. My child is communicating, “Hey, I’m uncomfortable talking about this topic because I just don’t want to share right now.” So that’s what my daughter would say to me, and then I would restate it in her words and clarify. “So what you’re saying is you don’t want to talk about this topic right now because it makes you feel uncomfortable. Is that right?” She would nod, “Yes.” Then, I can state my thoughts. I wouldn’t state my thoughts until I knew she knew that I understood her, and I would say, “Well, I understand. It’s hard to talk about these things, and it’s important for us to talk about this. I’m here to help you. Let me know what you understood from that,” and then I would have her reflect back.

She would repeat back, “Well, you want us to talk about this.” So she’s reflecting back what she understood from what I said. That’s step number five, and then we would come up with a solution.

I’d say, “Well, if you’re uncomfortable, why don’t we write down some questions, and then we can just pull the questions out, and I can answer them? So you can have some time to think about what you’re sharing. What do you think?” She would say, “Yeah. Okay. I’ll write down some questions, and we can talk about this at maybe a different time. Give me some time to think about it.”

I just gave you an example of how that communication interaction would sound like. It doesn’t take long. It super does not take long. However, it does take practice for you to be comfortable doing it. You have to be able to be comfortable doing it in order for it to work, which is why you need to practice this and practice it with everybody.

Seriously, practice it with everybody. Pay attention. Look at them. Listen to what they say and use their words, and then clarify that that’s what they meant. Then, you want to state your feelings, have them clarify with you, and then you can come to a solution afterwards. You’re trying to resolve a problem.

I have tried this so many people in the world. I tried it with neighbors. I do it all the time with my spouse and my child. It’s just second nature because I’m used to communicating this way. I do it with anyone I run into. You could even do this with a cashier at the store. If you’re walking through the line in cashier, you want to pay attention to them. You want to use their words to describe. Ask them a question, and practice it that way. So practice, practice, practice is apparent until these steps become so part of how you communicate that it will just naturally flow when you communicate with your child.

So for Annette and her daughter, we practiced this. We practiced this in various scenarios. Okay? So what I wanted Annette to be able to do is use the steps. I needed her to use this step. In particular, I wanted her to be able to maintain the eye contact and keep engaging with her child, even though her child wants to shut things down.

So we came up with a plan. Annette was going to talk to her daughter and share something that her daughter had had questions about for a long time, which was her father and say, “Hey, let’s talk about that. You’ve had questions before, and I know it’s kind of I’m springing this on you, but I want you to think about it, and there are things that I want you to know. Some things that I want you to understand and answer any questions that you have.”

So Annette prefaced her communication with her child by telling her child that they were going to talk about it at a future time, in the near future. You don’t want to make this like a week away and say, “You know what? Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about this or the next day.” What this does is it helps your child plan and prepare for it because they’re confronting a fence that they were scared to pass.

What you’re doing is saying, “Hey, I’m putting in a gate. I’m going to open the door, and I’m going to allow us to come in through together. I’m here. I’m going to help you, but I know it’s scary, but I’m here to guide you through that whole process, and I’m open to it, absolutely open to discussing it.”

That’s how the approach was going to be with Annette. Annette later reported that she set this up. It worked really, really well in that her daughter did have questions about this, and so they started their communication. What Annette told me was the benefit of underreacting was amazing. She was able to see so much power in underreacting to some of the questions because some of them were triggering for Annette, and she needed to be able to control that.

One thing Annette did share that I asked her if it’s okay to share during this podcast was, “What was the one question that she asked that triggered you the most?” The question was, “Why do I live with you? Why am I not living with Dad?”

So for Annette, this was a difficult question for her to answer. She really struggled with that, but Annette, based off of what we had done and practiced, was able to answer the question. She didn’t make excuses. She didn’t justify. She just stated the facts, answered the question. When your child has a question, answer the question. You don’t need a long book version of what it is. You don’t need to expound more than you need to expound. Just answer the question. If they have more questions, they will ask.

Instead of becoming defensive or offended, Annette answered the question and then asked her, “Do you have any other questions?” She did. So they followed it up, and they continued to talk about it, which allowed her daughter to see her mother in a different light. Again, it’s this whole idea of creating a gate where a fence once stood. You want to be able to open those up.

It worked out well for Annette, and I’m super proud of her. In fact, she’s going to continue to use the skill and implement the skill with her daughter as they continually explore other topics of interest, things that are happening in her daughter’s life.

Now, we are talking about effective communication with a child that isolates. This was one way that it helped open up the communication between them, and so I’m sharing this information because I want you to be able to use this.

Have this be a part of the way that you parent your child because as they come home with more questions, more difficulties trying to make sense of the world around them, the safest place they can have their questions answered is with you. You’re the one that will be able to help them, guide them, safely do so.

I do not trust other people to tell my child what’s right and wrong. I think for me, she needs to have a sense of what is right and wrong on her own, and my goal is to help her navigate that and also, be open to discussing difficult topics.

So here’s a question I think is interesting. Have I ever lost it with my own child, and have I ever overreacted? The answer is yes. I’m human, and I get it. Kids can be triggering. Sometimes the things they ask may be a little triggering.

However, because we’ve established a communication style between us about difficult topics, everything is on the table, and we are open to talking about whatever needs to be talked about and helping her in whatever way we can help her. Remember, these kids are still trying to figure things out. They really are doing their very best, and so we need to be open to that type of communication.

So those are the things I want you to remember. Remember, you’ve created an environment. So evaluate the created environment you have in your home of how to communicate. You need to understand that your emotional responses to your children’s questions, that actually create either a fence or a gate. If you are super rigid and don’t allow for questions to exist, or you overreact, your child is going to build a fence post there and say, “It’s not safe to go beyond this point with this person.” Okay? So just understand your emotional responses, and you need to control that, is up to you.

One of the things I think is super important for you to understand as a parent is even though our children may be triggering, and I mentioned that, you are still responsible for your own triggers. You are responsible for yourself. So you need to find a way to regulate those things that make you upset or angry. So emotional control. Created environment, emotional control, and then I gave you exactly what you need to do.

You need to use the skill of Effective Communication that’s found on the Smarter Parenting website. If you jump over there, you can watch the video lesson. There are some handouts and printouts that you can use. You can get a printout of the steps. They are available for you, and you can print it out so you can follow along, and then I need you to practice it so it becomes second nature in your communication.

I’m looking forward to how things turn out with Annette and her daughter. I think things are going to be great. We’ve actually created a gate, and what happens is once one gate is open, once we establish that there’s almost safety to try to implement new things, new gates in there.

One thing to keep in mind, though, with Annette is we focused on something that was of interest to her daughter, which was more information about her father because her daughter was unwilling to communicate about random things. So we evaluated, “What way can we start this process happening?”

So it’s important for you as a parent to work in the realms of your child. You may want to be talking about something and focused on something, but it’s more effective if you focus all the communication efforts that you’re doing on things that are of interest to your child. Okay? Because if you go in with your own agenda, that’s another fence post you’re putting up and telling your child, “We’re going to do it this way and my way,” and not allowing them to walk through the gate where they want to walk through the gate. Okay?

I know you can do it. Absolutely, do it. Effective Communication. It’s over there on the SmarterParenting.com website.

If you need to work with a coach, how do we do this and individualize it for our family because every family is different, sign up for coaching. We have coaching available for you and grateful for the sponsors who make it available to families on varying budgets.

It is not expensive financially, but it does require you to put in some work. This is not a one-stop-fix-everything shop. This is a process. This is a journey. As a parent, this is something that will help you throughout your life and throughout your child’s life.

So if you want a bandaid or a quick-fix, you can start using this, and it will start working. But if you really, really are invested in your child’s wellbeing and health in the future and your relationship with your child, then we are teaching you the process of how to foster that type of connection.

That’s what we’re here for, and that’s why I love this. This is why I love what I do. So we’re here for you. We’re here to help. Jump over there to the website to find more information, and that’s it for me for this week. I’ll talk to you again next time.


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Ep #123: How to talk to your kids about racism and other difficult topics

Ep #116: Using Effective Communications to build deeper connections

Ep #107: How to communicate with those you disagree with



Behavior Skill: Effective Communication

Steps of Effective Communication

Behavior Skill: Role-playing


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The ADHD Smarter Parenting Podcast with Siope Kinikini