Saturday, December 6, 2008


One of the most important steps that you can take with your child toward the prevention of Use of Illicit Substances (UIS), as well as a host of other topics, is to TALK!TALK!TALK! (TTT) to him/her monthly, weekly, and even daily, depending on the situation. It also helps if you use this precautionary method as soon as he/she is old enough to understand the message, but, if you’ve waited until now, it’s still not too late.

Before you utilize the TTT method, you must first gain an understanding of your child, so that you can determine which approach will work the best. For example if your child is able to listen to you without feeling threatened, the one-on-one approach might work best. If your child tunes you out during one-on-one discussions or immediately feels threatened or unloved due to your approach, then a non-direct eye contact method should be used.

For example, when facing my daughter one-on-one for a prolonged, caring discussion, she is able to understand my message, internalize it, and put it to use. It is also during these times that she is able to understand that I truly care about her and that I want the best for her.

However, my oldest son does not respond well to this approach, except in small increments. After a few moments of the one-on-one approach, he will make attempts to divest himself of the conversation, try to change the subject, or intentionally show that he is not truly internalizing my message.

He is not being disrespectful; he is simply unable to face a constant onslaught of these one-on-one direct messages. As his parent, I can force him to remain in place for my lecture, but due to his personality and his increasing desire to be removed from the conversation, my message does not have the impact that I desire. In fact, due to the fact that he is constantly trying to think of ways to get out of the lecture, he will not retain most of my message.

However, when I talk to him while driving the car, lying on his bedroom floor with him on his bed (both of us on our backs, staring at the ceiling, and avoiding eye contact), or chatting during the preparation of breakfast, my messages are well-received. In fact, these situations seem to encourage him to verbally respond in appropriate ways!

In order to effectively communicate your message of non-UIS and other issues to your child, first determine the proper method of communication with your child. Don’t become frustrated if the first several approaches and/or locales do not work effectively. Keep on trying new communication avenues until you find the right one for your individual child. And remember, each child is different, even when within the same family!

Stop by next week for some tips to use when engaging in detailed and successful TALK!TALK!TALK! session between you and child!!

Paul W. Reeves

No comments: