Communication Barriers and How To Overcome Them
Talking to your preteen or teenager sometimes can be a bit difficult. Maybe you start to chat with your child and you get a "look" that immediately stops conversation. Or, maybe your child wants to talk to you, but you're focusing on paying the bills and are not giving him your full attention.
Studies show, however, that talking to your children does have an impact, so it's important to make the effort to really communicate.1 Here are some common communication barriers and how to overcome them. Remember, not all of these will work in all situations, and sometimes you'll need to keep trying. Put in the effort—the reward will be a better relationship and improved communication with your child.
Even if you think a problem is minor, for example, if your child is upset because his friend wouldn't sit next to him, it's a big deal to him. It's hard to open up sometimes and if you make your child feel uncomfortable, chances are he will simply avoid having honest conversations with you.
Remember to praise your child when she demonstrates good listening skills. It's just as important to develop these skills in your child as it is in you!
Put It Into Practice
One communication barrier is not seeing a child's problem the way he sees it. Sometimes adults dismiss children's problems as unimportant. Click on the first selection below to see a short video that shows an ineffective way to respond when a child shares a problem. After you view it, think about how the father should have responded. Better yet, think about how you would respond given the same situation. Now, select the second vignette to see a more sensitive approach. Do you think the girl is likely to go to her dad the next time she has a problem?1. Ineffective Response Video
2. Effective Response
Sources1 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 1997. Youth drinking: Risk factors and consequences. Alcohol Alert No. 37.
Additional ResourcesInformation in this article was compiled from several sources:
This document is in the Public Domain and provided by, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)