- It is so difficult to have a conversation with my child. He answers in just one or two words. I ask, ‘How was your day?’. He answers, ‘Ok’ or ‘All good’. And then, he gets busy on his phone. How to talk with him? What to talk with him?
- When I tell my son, ‘Tell me about your day, na!’, he looks at me with suspicious eyes.
- My daughter is disinterested in talking with me. Half the time she pretends, she has not heard what I said. On repeated asking (of course I get irritated), she makes faces and says, ‘You won’t understand’.
- I would love to talk with my daughter. However, even I am bored with the same questions that I ask her…”How was your day? Did your teacher come today? Did you have food properly? Did you fight with anyone? Did anyone touch you anywhere (yes I am scared)?” She also answers monotonously. I want to be her best friend. I don’t know, how!
- Every time I guide my child, she kind of distances herself from me. Earlier, she would listen. Nowadays, she has become quieter. I know something is troubling her. She refuses to share. I do not know how to open her up. It is almost as if, she has decided, she cannot trust me. I see her pain and my heart breaks. Is there a way, she will open up to me. Please help.
Over the past 16+ years, these are the kind of messages I have got from frantic parents. Parents wish their child speaks their heart out to them. They are willing to invest quality time with their children. However, the conversation seems to hit a wall. After a few syllables, parents are at their wits end to move the conversation ahead. Parents know their kids need their wisdom, their support, their guidance. Parents know they CAN be a great friend to their child. They just do not know how to build the conversation. The trust between parents and children, is present, but not on the surface. Free flowing, honest, transparent communication is desired by both. Ironically, both feel like voyagers who are lost in the expanse of the mighty oceans, without a compass or the night skies to guide them.
To solve this dilemma, here is a small yet very powerful technique that has worked for hundreds of parents. It is called ‘Mad, Glad and Sad’ technique.
What is ‘Mad, Glad and Sad’ technique?
Before you hit the bed for the night, approach your child and ask, “What was ‘Mad, Glad and Sad’ about the day for you?
Initially, the child will be puzzled and they won’t be able to share. In those situations, share what were the ‘Mad, Glad and Sad’ about the day for you. Parents have shared things like…
Mother 1 – Today, your tiffin was packed in a hurry as I woke up late. I realised, I did not pack your napkin. I was sad. Today, when I went to the tailor to pick up my dress, I realised he has made a mess of the fabric. I became mad. Today, after lunch time, your dad called me and appreciated the Aloo Palak I had made for him. I am super glad.
Mother 2 – Today, I got up late. I reached office 10 minutes late. I was mad at myself. Today, the watchman was shouted by an arrogant car owner. I felt very sad for the poor but good watchman. Today, I came back from office, took bath, ate a full bar of Dairy Milk Silk. Oooooh. I am so glad.
Father 1 – Today, both of you got up on time, got ready on time, left for your school on time. I saw your mummy relaxed. Today, she sat in the balcony peacefully, had a full cup of tea with a smile on her face. I was very very very glad. Today, the driver did not come. I had so much travelling to do. I had planned to prepare when I was in the car. Now that I had to drive, I had to rush through many things to prepare. I prefer a well planned day. Today was full rush. I was mad at the driver for not coming on a very important day. Do you remember Ashish Uncle at office. The one who is really tall. Well, today, I shouted at him though it was NOT HIS FAULT. The stress of driving got to me and it came out on the unfortunate Ashish. I did say sorry and he too said ok but it was not ok. I am very sad at my behaviour.
Father 2 – Today, the Taxi I travelled in was disgustingly dirty. It was almost stinking. I was mad. Today, my colleague lost his dad. I was sad as he is a good friend of mine and Uncle was a very nice man. He always motivated me to think bigger. He was very sweet. Today, I got a very big order that I had almost lost. I was very very glad. In fact, inside my cabin, I did a small jig too.
Play with game of ‘Mad, Glad and Sad’ with your kids. You will be surprised at how effortlessly the kids open their minds and hearts to you. Sometimes, you will be thrilled. Sometimes, your heart will skip a beat. Sometimes, you might be scandalised too. Sometimes, you will laugh like crazy. What is sure is, you and your child will develop great bonding. You will understand what gives pain to your child. You will understand the demons your child is fighting within. You will understand who their friends are. You will understand what impressed and what irritates your child. You will understand what the child thinks of adults. You will understand how your child sees the world.
There will be wonder. There will be thunder. There will be moments of fear. There will be moments of exhilaration. There will be clarity on what your child needs from you. There will be clarity on how wise your child is. There will be moments that makes parenting wow.
All the best to you. Do share with us, what ‘Mad, Glad and Sad’ technique did for you and wow child.