Sunday, February 18, 2018

Operation: Communication

              Operation: Communication

 Hailey Innes, M.S., LPC-Intern

 Supervised by Katrena Hart, LPC-S 

I receive dozens of calls and visits each week from parents desperate to communicate more effectively with their children and teenagers. I hear everything, for example:

    • “my 16 year old daughter refuses to speak to me because it’s ‘not cool.’"
    • ‘I don’t understand my son/daughter.'
    • “my 6 year old son throws a tantrum when it’s bath time…every time.”

While presenting problems range vastly, the underlying issue is typically the same-- rather than speaking with kids or adolescents, we often speak TO them.

One of the most prevalent issues between parents and children/teenagers is a lack of understanding and empathy for one another. Parents report feeling a range of emotions. On one hand, they often report feelings of anger, frustration, and a lack of control. One the other hand, they report feeling guilt, apathy, fear of spoiling children, along with an urge to give in or give up all together. My job is to help parents navigate the intricate balance between these extremes, with the hope of finding a middle balance of understanding, kindness, and respect from both parties.

I'm a huge fan of the books How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, and How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk, by Adele Fabor and Elain Mazlish. Fabor and Mazlish present valuable information in simple, easy to understand language, while successfully normalizing communication challenges in a way that does not shame or ridicule parents or children/adolescents.

Over the last few years, I’ve recommended these books at least 100 times to parents, grandparents, caregivers, and teachers. Not only are they simple and easy to understand, they normalize difficult parent/child communication in a way that does not shame or ridicule either party. Parents gain knowledge about how to approach communication, while children/adolescents feel more power and control over their environment and selves.

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk has seven chapters:

      1. Helping Children Deal With Their Feelings
      2. Engaging Cooperation
      3. Alternatives to Punishment
      4. Encouraging Autonomy
      5. Praise
      6. Freeing Children from Playing Roles
      7. Putting It All Together

How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk has eight chapters:

      1. Dealing with Feelings
      2. We’re Still “Making Sure”
      3. To Punish or Not to Punish
      4. Working It Out Together
      5. Meeting the Kids
      6. About Feelings, Friends, and Family
      7. Parents and Teens Together
      8. Dealing with Sex and Drugs

The chapters also offer relevant, thought provoking discussion questions, comic book like pictures to help parents understand how to use the language and skills presented throughout the chapter, helpful activities, as well as real struggles/questions from parents (you're not alone!). The communication skills, tips and tricks presented prove relevant not just when dealing with children and adolescents, but everyday adult, personal, and business communication as well. With themes of empathy, respect, and teamwork, the authors successfully support parents navigating the daunting, exhausting, frustrating, and confusing world of parent-child communication. I highly recommend both titles to anyone struggling to communicate or connect with younger generations.

To schedule a free consultation with Hailey, please contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 972.562.5002 ext 7.

For more information about Hailey, please visit her bio: http://www.bridgingharts.com/our-practice/meet-our-team/2015-01-30-02-42-49/hailey-innes-bio


Bridging Harts Institute & Psychotherapy
203 S. Alma St. Suite #300
Allen, TX 75013
T: (972) 562 5002
Email: info@bridgingharts.com


Scroll to top