One of the scariest experiences as a parent is not knowing what’s going on with your child. When you get a “my day was fine,” over and over again followed by an “I don’t know,” or “I don’t want to talk about it,” parents get frustrated and start asking more questions. These questions only lead to more resistance and at some point, kids stop sharing almost everything with their parents.
Over the years, I have found the #1 reason kids don’t share information with parents is because they don’t want to deal with questions. They want parents to listen, drop the subject and not ask anything more. Because this is so hard for parents to do and because kids don’t trust their parents to not ask questions, one of the most effective ways to improve communication between parents and kids is The No-Talk Notebook.
Essentially, this strategy is as simple as digging a spiral notebook out of a drawer and explaining to your child that whatever is written in the notebook can’t be talked about. The only way you can communicate about what is written is to write back. You basically become a pen pal with your child and pass the notebook back and forth between the two of you.
Let the communication begin! The notebook is a blank slate for communication. What really happened at school or why the fight with a sibling happened can be explained in a safe manner. Insecurities. Fears. Failures. Proud moments. Questions about life. Relationships. It can all be talked about in a way that makes kids feel safe.
Give it a try and remember that no matter how much you want to have a verbal conversation about what’s inside, keep your comments on the page!