Watching anyone, especially your own child, feel sadness, anger or confusion is difficult. Looking back on my childhood and also observing other parents today, including myself, there are times when we want to fast-forward through the emotion because it makes us uncomfortable.
But if we are constantly zipping through uncomfortable conversations, we are teaching our kids to do the same. “These moments are teaching moments,” says marriage and family therapist Christi Garner. “A parent who blows off this vulnerable conversation is giving their children the message that their feelings aren’t important.”
Parents and children who spend time together outside their daily routines are more likely to have important conversations because there is another focus aside from the challenging topic, Garner says. Whether it’s a walk, bike ride or even a video game, that one-on-one or family time allows for comfortable and natural conversations, away from the daily rush.