When Communication With a Child is Poor, Love and Understanding is the Answer

Sure, just about every parent will eventually hear the words "I hate you." Especially when you don't let them have their way! Usually, if communication is otherwise good, you can just ride the storm out. When the emotions have run their course, you will often hear the words "I'm sorry, mom, I didn't really mean it." Happiness is restored. But this article is about poor communication that develops over months or years. Here are a few thoughts and a possible solution.

I was talking to a business colleague the other day about successful parenting. She said: "make sure you start early." Wise words. If you have a good relationship with your child when he or she is small; and if you have an understanding heart, you are off to a good start.

If you continue to be there for your child (instead of abandoning your child to daycare, preschool, or some ambitious or scary school environment), you will avoid a whole bunch of potential problems. If you are vigilant about such things too much television, too many video games, and too much socializing--chances are that big issues will never even develop.

Once your child has conformed to the peer group and pop culture; once he or she looks for support and reassurance from them instead of you, you will begin to lose the natural authority you once had.

Peers, celebrities, educators, boyfriends, and so on become their authorities. Your child learns to be a smart aleck, to take drugs, to have sex, to tease, and to conform to the pop culture with them. And so they become the gods and authorities of your child. Your child will look to them for approval and assurance for what they have made of her. Once this has happened, should you try to intervene, you will be seen as the enemy, as mean, as interfering.

I am not saying that good communication can't be restored. Communication begins to improve when a parent who--through suffering and soul searching--begins to wake up to see his or her own selfishness, and takes responsibility for what has gone wrong instead of blaming the child. When the parent is genuinely sorry and desirous to be a good parent from now on--I am not saying that things can't be turned around. Proper order and a good relationship can be restored, and that would be good.

But restoring a good relationship is very difficult, and may not happen, if the child is already a teen or young adult, or if a divorce has happened and the child lives with someone else. But even here, love is a very powerful force. And when a parent has a sincere change of heart, the child (who is psychically bonded to the parent) will sense it, even if a thousand miles away. Something good can begin to happen, working within the heart.

The problems begin when many parents turn their children over to strangers and to too much socializing when they are young. Often most of the day is literally spent with strangers, while mom is off at work. Even when everyone is home, kids are watching television, playing video games, social networking on the computer, text messaging, or talking on the cell phone.

The parent becomes a non-factor. The parent usually tries to take charge by being mean or bossy, leading to the usual conformity or rebellion. This does not work. All it does is drive them further away, or produce apathy, fear, or resentful conformity.

If such a parent does not become a feared and hated tyrant, she becomes the opposite: not respected and not payed attention to. The parent tries punishing. When nothing works, she loses patience and turns the child over to more strangers and Godless authorities.

Years of neglect, impatience, errors and so on lead to a lot of guilt. It would be good if this guilt led to a crisis of repentance, where the build up of conflict with conscience leads to a capitulation to conscience, catharsis and resolution. When a parent's heart softens, love begins to flow. And love is a very powerful thing. In other words, when you are coming from the right place, whatever you say or do will have love in it.

But just when real soul searching might occur, the parent often hardens her heart, refuses to admit she is wrong, and with the help of friends, saves face and protects her ego. Of course, it is a natural human tendency to not want to admit we are wrong. But self righteousness and blame destroy relationships.

We don't like to admit wrong to anyone, even to our God-given conscience. So we deny what conscience is wordlessly trying to tell us (just as we deny what our children are trying to tell us when they cry or act out--seeking to make us aware of our lack of understanding).

However, conditions eventually develop that cannot be denied. The parent may then do a complete about face: become too nice and too easy going, perhaps giving in totally to every demand. All to save face and try to make up for guilt.

Some parents will often rush after their kids, chasing them all the way to the rehab house or the jail, seeking to rescue them so that they can get rid of the guilt for having driven their kids to the streets and drugs.

So I must again say that there is no substitute for understanding. Just remember how you felt when you stood before some angry authority trying to explain something, and they would not listen. Where is the love? Where is the understanding?

The good news is: love still exists. It is in you right now. You have a wordless way of knowing, in the light of intuition which is from God. Right now it wordlessly and silently testifies to the truth of what I have said. The same light that is in me is in you. All you have to do is soften your pride and embrace (instead of rejecting) the conscience that loves you.

Yes, your conscience makes you feel bad (when you see, for example, your own impatience, selfishness or resentment). It makes you feel bad when you see how your meddling and manipulations have made everything worse. But the pain is only temporary.

On the other side of admitting your wrong and being sorry is peace and a new lease on life. When you begin to live intuitively, love and understanding will enter everything you do.

For God's sake, don't be the heartless bureaucrat to your own children. Let your heart soften, and then your children will see the face of love. If you don't, then they will go out in the world looking for love in all the wrong places.

Roland Trujillo MS, PhD, educator and author, is Director of the Center For Common Sense Counseling and host of the popular radio advice show. Roland offers solutions and tools for common sense parenting, dealing with stress, and improving family relationships. Roland will soon celebrate 30 years of teaching and 22 years on the air. Roland's secret recipes for parenting success always include a heaping teaspoon of patience and a generous sprinkling of laughter. Find out more by visiting You will find free resources and valuable information. Roland has been helping people for 30 years. Perhaps he can help you too.

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