Ten Tips to Help Seniors Communicate with their Adult Children
1 Be assertive
Take time to clarify what you want to communicate and set your focus on that agenda. Avoid being sidetracked.
2 Stay calm
As voices rise, it is more difficult to listen with an open mind. Even if you disagree, let your loved one finish their thoughts before you explain your position. Don’t make assumptions or accusations.
3. Be Selective
Pick your battles. In some circumstances it may be easer to walk away or go along with a loved one’s wishes to not create distance with those around you.
4. Optimize your energy
Be sensitive to your energy levels. Look for places and times in which you are most effective to get what you need out of the conversations.
5. Compensate for your weaknesses
Some hearing and memory loss is a normal part of aging and can be effectively managed.
If you are having trouble hearing, consider a hearing test. If you forget important things, keep lists and notes.
6. Seek independence, avoid dependence
Seek social contact where people encourage you to do things yourself and where they challenge you mentally and physically.
7. Raise the issue
Often there are issues that everyone knows are there, but there is reluctance to raise the topic. Take the lead. If the topic is a difficult one, it is often helpful to “set the stage” by prefacing a conversation with “I want to talk to you about something important.”
8. Defend without being defensive
Your child may come to you with what seems to be an accusation. Conflict and anger rarely change minds, but frank and constructive discussions can.
9. Look for points of agreement
Even if you disagree with 90 percent of what someone is saying, find the common ground where there is some agreement or room for compromise.
10. Listen and put yourself in the other person’s shoes
When children come to you with an issue, it is normally because they are concerned and because they care. Even if you don’t like what they have to say, appreciate why they are saying it and look for ways to express your appreciation for their caring.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Beth Byer of The Court of Colorado Springs. For further information she can be reached at 719-637-087