As part of our ongoing series of Skills Development – Parenting Programs, Tuesday’s Children presented a communication skills program entitled Words Can Work with Jeanne Blake, noted author and facilitator. Jeanne presented am evidence based multimedia program designed to help parents and caregivers understand the importance of talking and listening to their children about the challenges young people face growing up. She stated that “When kids can talk openly with an adult they trust, they make healthier choices”. Words Can Work assists parents in holding important conversations that encourage healthy lifestyles and successful behaviors. Jeanne discussed how fostering safe and open communication within the family builds resilience and confidence in children and teenagers.
Jeanne emphasized that parents should encourage their children to share their feelings by asking open ended questions, such as “How are you feeling. I’d like to know” and share their feelings as well. “I’m sad because…” Jeanne stressed that parents should find opportunities to ask children their opinions, and give them a chance to make choices, while acknowledging their good choices. “I’m proud of your choice. Was that a tough decision?” In addition, Jeanne observed that parents can be more effective in keeping communication channels open when they are able to admit they don’t have all the answers, “I don’t know. Let’s find out together” and when they apologize for their mistakes, stating, for example “I’m sorry I yelled at you. I want to explain why I was so upset.” Parents who attended the program found this information very helpful and interesting.