The Silent Treatment and Your Family

Lisa Cherry —  October 9, 2013

By Lisa Cherry

How did it go today, son?


Please tell me about it. I would love to hear.

"Not much to tell.... "

Does that conversation sound at all familiar at your house?   

In raising a house full of teens, I have come to accept and expect communication bumps in my day.

But I was looking for way to thaw the ice on my teens’ silent treatment. 

Recently I have been intentionally helping my kids learn good communication skills. Maybe I should say that differently: Recently I have been attempting to teach my kids good communication skills.

I have come to recognize that for some of them, good communication habits are a challenge.

 Perhaps it is the adolescent tendency of egocentricity, or the insecurity and identity formation issues that make talking coherently to parents and siblings so challenging. I am sure the experts could help us understand.

But whatever the cause of the communication glitches, I am smart enough to know that bad communication skills can get entrenched as habits.  And their future spouses will suffer under this if I don't do my part to facilitate maturity.

I ran across this good website that has free articles that are helping.

Here is a link to an article on 5 Reasons Why the Silent Treatment Doesn’t Work.

What if you brought this little article to the dinner table sometime? What if, over the mashed potatoes or tacos, you helped everyone in your home grow their communication skills? You might even be able to laugh a little over the funny moments of silent treatment attempts.

I am finding this technique of intentional teaching to be helpful. If I teach a skill, then under the heat of tough moments, I can reasonably expect that skill to be employed.

Has it fixed all problems? No way!! But it has helped us take one good giant step forward to greater maturity.

I’d love to hear your comments. How have you taught communication skills to your children?  Click here and scroll down to comment.

Image: Kent Landerholm “Cubes” via Flickr Creative Commons

License: Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Related post:
Guilty: I’ve Killed Communication with My Teens


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