Middle School Report

August 23, 2022

by Mr Michael Busscher,  Director of the Middle School 

It’s often said that communication is the key to a healthy relationship. While it might sound like tired advice, it’s a skill worth learning that will help us do better in all our relationships. As your son grows up, the way you communicate with them will need to change to reflect the new boundaries in your relationship created by their increasing independence. Discovering these new and different approaches to communicating effectively with one another will be a learning experience for you both. Effective communication with your teenager can help you both feel happier and more connected in your relationship, and more confident about having difficult conversations and resolving conflicts.

Effective communication can help if:

  • you feel disconnected from your son
  • you and your son don’t speak
  • you want to encourage your son to talk about what’s going on for them
  • you want to improve your relationship with your son.

What is effective communication?

You and your son are communicating effectively when:

  • you both feel able to talk freely about your feelings, and you feel heard and understood.
  • you talk about all the little stuff, and you feel comfortable talking about the tough stuff when you need to
  • you have a close and easy way of sharing things, and you both know you won’t be judged because you love and care about each other.

Communicating with teens can sometimes be difficult, in busy households, it’s easy to overlook making time and space in your day to have a really good talk with your son and find out what’s going on in their life.

When your son no longer depends on you as much as they once did, it’s harder to know everything that’s going on in their lives as the communication between parents and teenagers seems to decrease. They are more independent, and so you have to make time to check in with them to find out how they’re going.

Why is effective communication important?

Your relationship is changing, and you have to be flexible and able to change with your son. But don’t ever think that they need you any less as a good sounding board. During adolescence, they need you just as much as they ever did. The best way to support them is by making sure they’ll come to you with any problems they’re having, and that’s why effective communication is so important.

What can help in communicating effectively with your son?

Here are some tips that can help you have positive and constructive conversations with your son.

  • Being genuinely interested and curious about what your son is telling you.
  • Giving them your undivided attention.
  • Show empathy – put yourself in your son’s shoes.
  • Avoid just giving them instructions or unsolicited advice.
  • Choose a quiet space without distractions for important conversations.

Barriers to effective communication

Try to minimise the following, which act as barriers to effective communication.

  • Interruptions and distractions, which can make it seem like you’re not interested in what your son is saying.
  • Jumping in with advice, rather than listening to what your son has to say.
  • Judging what your son has to say and not validating their point of view.
  • Interrogating your son by firing questions at them.

Please take care of yourselves as well as your son over these difficult and often challenging times.

Mr Michael Busscher

Director of Middle School