Feel the EmotionsPractical tips and skills from Wyndham City’s Youth Services team to help parents and carers tune in to young people.

Are you tired of feeling like you are nagging? Do you feel like you are asking the same questions time and time again with no results?

‘Please hang up your towel’

‘Clean your bedroom’

‘Can you please put your dishes in the sink’

Bedroom still untidy? Towel on the bathroom floor? Dishes still on the table?

Does this sound familiar?

For our young people to be open to our feedback and to truly hear us without the story of ‘hear we go again ….. nagging me about something’

We need to let our kids know that we think that they are the BEST thing since sliced bread, that we love and adore them no matter what. You as parents of course know that this is how you feel about your child but to create an open and trusting space where feedback can be shared and most importantly heard, we have to make a big effort to let them know how great we think they are.

It is hard to ignore or discredit feedback from someone who we know without a doubt has our best interests at heart.

Think about it, we all know the people in our life who we trust most to give us honest feedback. It not necessarily the most intelligent or experienced person in the room. It is usually the person who we have a strong connection with, who has shown care and compassion for us in the past. Who we know would have our back, believes and sees the best in us.

So, how do we create this with our young people?

We make sure that we outweigh our constructive criticism with positive interactions and feedback.

Recognise and acknowledge the moments when your young person remembers to pick up the towel, highlight the things you love about their character, praise their big and small achievements. Are they a great friend? Do they make you laugh? Are they kind?

Tell them and tell them often.

We know that as humans we naturally have a negativity bias. We are more prone to hold on to the negative feedback we receive than to remember the nice things people say. This is why as parents we need SHOUT the PRAISE and whisper the criticism.

If the praise overpowers the criticism our young people will be less defensive and more open to hearing what you have to say.

This tip is about providing balance, ensuring that we are praising more frequently than we are criticising. This makes it more likely that our message gets heard at all times even in those times when we are asking our young people to do a task like helping to put the dishes away or doing their chores. After all we want our young people to hear us all of the time not zone out when we appear to be ‘nagging them yet again.’ Being heard isn’t the only positive outcome of this strategy it also builds a strong, trusting connection with your young person as you recognise all of their efforts and skills more regularly rather than just focusing on the things they aren’t achieving.