As we approach the holidays, family communication will become more and more prevalent. Often times, it can be difficult to have meaningful conversations. Susan Yates shares six steps to have significant conversations with family and how to raise great conversationalists.
Recently a friend asked me,
"Susan, I often feel like our conversations with our adult kids and extended family members are superficial. How can we encourage conversations to go to a deeper level?”
Another mother remarked,
"My teenager doesn’t talk. How can we get our kids to engage with others more naturally in conversations-both in our immediate family and with guests?”
This problem is not new, but social media has made it worse and repressed meaningful conversations — particularly with our kids. Sound bites, perfect pictures on Instagram, inane quotes on FB, and hurtful comments about others give our kids a steady diet of superficial tedium. They are more comfortable on their phones than in eye-to-eye contact with others.
It’s not just our kids. We adults often don’t know how to initiate a meaningful conversation. We wonder, Am I being too personal? Will I offend them? Will they like me? What can I say or ask?
The pandemic has not helped us with this problem. Our kids are on screens more than ever before. Social contact is severely limited.
We are in danger of raising a generation that lacks person-to-person social skills.
Some of us are going to be with extended family over the holidays. Others will connect by zoom. We want to have significant conversations, and we want to train our kids to be good conversationalists. How do we go about this?