when one of you is absorbed in another activity, such as reading the newspaper, watching television, or texting. Emphasize common goals. Remind your child that you are on their side. Emphasize common goals, and use the shared goals as a basis for your guidance and suggestions. (For example, remind your child that you both want him or her to stay healthy and safe.) Avoid communication “stoppers.” These are single statements that shut down any response. They are often threatening, such as “I better

not catch you drinking or else.” Recognize conflict is natural.

We are not identical to one another. We all have different beliefs and values; therefore disagreement is a natural thing. We can use conflict as an opportunity to grow and learn about each other. Agree to step away. Agree to temporarily stop talking if things don’t go well. Wait until both individuals can talk in a calm, direct fashion. Use appropriate body language. How you position yourself physically while you talk can send important messages about your attitudes or express something you are not trying to convey. Don’t look away or slouch down. Nod your head in agreement. Avoid debate. Sometimes a child feels he or she must “defend” a position. Then the conversation turns into a mini-debate. If you find yourself debating, try suggesting that you

Choose a good time. Choose the best time to bring up and discuss problems. Don’t do it when the other person is rushed or has a commitment elsewhere. Wait until you both can have a relaxed, calm discussion. You might take your child to lunch or out for some ice cream where you could both sit down to talk and listen to one another. Most kids say their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking. Communicate directly. Pick a time to speak when you can have each other’s undivided attention. Don’t discuss important things


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