A few weeks ago I had a chat with a friend who just had a confrontation with her daughter that morning. She said her teenage daughter was really angry and in tears; she told the parent that the only conversation they ever had with her was “did you do your homework”, “did you do your house chores”, “have you practiced your piano””have you…”, “did you…” all about “did you do”…

She was really upset and taken aback by her daughter’s outburst.  They work six days a week running their business, and hardly have time with the family. And she is trying her best to make sure the business is being looked after and her children are being attended to. So the first thing that came to her mind, as any responsible parent would, was making sure the to-do list that she has for her daughter have to be “ticked”, then she would be satisfied that she has done her job as a parent.

So why was the daughter so upset?

Now, re-read the highlighted statements above and tick which ones resonates with you?

  • Working hard – long hours
  • Worrying about children – whether they have done their work and are looked after
  • Setting up to-do list for the daughter/son
  • Parent’s job – at work and at home

Is there anything wrong with the statements above? Absolutely not! This is what parents do, we have to work, look after the children and family, and making sure that they have finished all their chores, school work etc…

So why was the daughter so upset?

If this situation resonates with you, it is a good time to drop everything right now. Take three deep breaths, focus on the situation and imagine this situation in your mind:

Put yourself in the child’s shoes…

What do you think may be going on in the child’s mind? What would be your analysis on this?

Here are my thoughts of what the child is thinking:

  • Parents are busy
  • No time for me.
  • The only conversations are: Did you do this and do that? Have you finished this and that? All the “have to”…
  • Parents don’t understand and value me.
  • Parents aren’t listening.

Your answer may be different from mine. It does not matter, as there is no right or wrong to the situation; your answers will be based on your personal and family values, life experiences and beliefs.

However, what is taking place right here may resonate with many of you, so do take a minute and rethink the situation.

You will have to tune in to yourself, start listening to yourself for answers, trust your own instinct and judgement, while at the same time, listen to the feedback from your family.

This is what I shared with my friend – I told her to refrain from telling her daughter what to do. Instead ask her about her day, what she is doing and whether she needs any advice or help, and then share about her day with the daughter … but most of all start listening.

It is not about the to-do list or the homework; you children just want you to listen, to be valued, to share, communicate and just to have a relationship with you.

This approach has worked really well for my friend and her daughter, and they are starting to have better communication. The joy and harmony have returned to the family home.

As always, I would love to hear from you, whether you have experienced something similar and how did you overcome it.

Have a connected day with your family. And listen to your family.