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Bec Sparrow on Kids & Communication 

29 May 2020

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Suncorp has collaborated on this article with our friends at Business Chicks Australia’s largest and most influential community for women. Whether they’re running their own show, surrounded by others in an office, or just missing a sense of connection and support, Business Chicks is all about giving women the tools they need to propel themselves and their businesses forward.

In collaboration with Business Chicks, Bec Sparrow offers advice on how to help communicate.

As parents, it can be hard to feel like we’re truly connecting with our kids. When kids become tweens and then teens, we often find our relationships and communication styles are in a constant state of flux.

In collaboration with our partners at Business Chicks, we sought advice from Bec Sparrow about how to proactively and productively communicate with your kids. An author, podcaster and public speaker, it’s Bec’s life mission to help teenage girls find their voice, as well as their footing.

Over the past year, Bec has spent time interviewing teens to find out what they wanted their parents to know about them. Each teen said they craved a deeper connection with their parents, where they would feel listened to and be able to thrive in an honest environment.

So how do we build those bonds with our kids in a world that so often feels too busy and too overwhelming? Here is how you can get started:

Thought about journalling?

Here’s a great nugget of advice from Bec’s personal parenting journey:

One of the best tools I’ve used to keep the lines of communication open with my tween daughter is our shared journal.

The rule is that she writes to me in the book and then puts it on my bedside table. So, when I see it there, I know she wants to tell me something.  I’m not allowed to talk to her in person about whatever she’s written about it. Instead I write back.

Add this tool to your child’s communication toolbox. If there’s something they want to discuss with you, but they can’t bear to make eye contact with you – they can write to you about it.

Keep rituals alive

Rituals, routines and traditions help keep structure and motivation, acting like scaffolding to our children’s lives.

Dependable, unmovable structures help us feel safe and secure.  Even if your kids roll their eyes – it doesn’t matter. Keep going. Because deep down those hokey family moments are the glue that binds. Family movie nights, a Saturday morning bike ride, Sunday afternoon roast, a Sunday evening challenge shooting hoops – these things can be precious to our children even if they don’t show it. 

Lockdown is the perfect time to develop some new family rituals, from it’s Sunday morning pancakes to Friday night board games.

Use a tating system

Kids often don’t have the language to articulate to you what’s going on for them. And there’s A LOT going on for them right now. So, asking them to give you a number is an easier way to get a snapshot of how they’re doing.  

 “What do we need to do to get you from a 5 to a 6?” Is a great way to get started with a conversation that can really help a child decide how they want to try to feel better, and know they’re being heard.

Lessen screen time

The number one thing kids want is for their parents to put down their phones. When your child wants to engage with you put your phone down and out of sight. Give them your full attention.

Share their interests

Whatever your child loves – take the time to experience it with them. Lego. YouTube clips.  Netball. Xbox. A certain TV series.  Rather than dismiss it, spend some time with them in the activity. They will love you for it!

Business Chicks and Suncorp Team Girls have teamed up to bring you the Business Chicks of the Future content series. Visit the hub to find more content to equip you to build meaningful connections with your teen and tween girls in order to build their confidence, strengthen their mental health and overcome difficult circumstances.

For more information on how Suncorp is helping to build a nation of confident girls, visit the Team Girls website.

Original interview with Bec Sparrow.

Read more:

If your child, or anyone you know is having issues with self-esteem, confidence or mental or physical health, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 180.

This content includes the views and opinions of a third-party, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Suncorp. Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, personal situation or needs.

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