Parents play a critical role in modelling the behaviours they would like to see their children enact. The behaviours children learn at home are a big part of what they’ll take with them into later life. So it’s important to think about how you can demonstrate the skill of positively relating and communicating with others, so your child learns from you.
How to model positive relating and communicating
Below are some ways that you can model positive behaviours for your teenager:
- Show respect and caring for others, even people you don’t like or disagree with. You should ask family members to do the same, and make an effort to be respectful and caring inside the family home, out with friends, shopping - any place you interact with others.
- Express anger or negative emotions in constructive ways. For example, if you’re angry, make an effort to say something like ‘I feel really angry at the moment. Can we talk later when I’ve calmed myself down?"
- Encourage self-reflection. Reflect on your own behaviour at home, and share those reflections with your child. If you react negatively to something, consider why that might be - you might be tired, or overworked and stressed - and express that. This can encourage your child to consider the reasons behind their own actions.
- If you’re having a conflict with your child, use it as a learning opportunity. Demonstrate how to resolve conflicts constructively. For example, if your child breaks the rules or does something that upsets you, try not to react in anger. Talk through what happened and involve them in coming up with ways to resolve the issue.
- Avoid behaving aggressively and handle discipline fairly. Sometimes young people learn that negative events can only be handled in physical and aggressive ways. Or they learn avoidance, or to make negative and undermining comments. Try to be fair and constructive at all times, and avoid teasing or insulting people.
Let your child know that it is okay to have negative feelings, but that it is better to talk about them rather than acting on them.