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Interviews with R and her daughters M, B and G

There are some wonderful insights revealed in this interview. It features mum R and sisters B who is 12, M at 14, and 8 year old G. As ever I am extremely grateful to them for taking the time to contribute.

FIRSTLY WE HEAR FROM R ...

• What has been the most valuable lesson you have learned so far with regards to communicating with your children?

That shouting and negative slanging matches benefit NOBODY. Calmness, rationality, patience, and consistency are key. If only we all had such saintly traits on tap though!
That honesty and clarity are important - even quite young children can grasp the key issues around death, relationships, money, if they’re explained in terms they understand. There is no point in fudging issues - telling them that recently deceased relatives are ‘sleeping’ will only lead to sleep disorders and nightmares (actually heard someone say this at a funeral).

• When has it all gone horribly wrong for you, and what did you do to fix it?

When everyone is tired and at the end of their tether and harsh words are spoken and doors are slammed. The remedy is always to go back, explain the tiredness, apologise, and HUG, before resuming normal service.

• What is the personal trait you mostly rely upon in your relationships with your children?

Honesty and humour.

• What is your greatest fear for future communications with your children?

That they will stop telling me things that are important to them.

• Do you have strategy for this? If not, what would help?

Keeping the communication channels open at all times, so they know that they can speak openly without fear of judgment or criticism about things that arise.

• When has it all gone wonderfully right, and why do you think that was?

When we are all in the car on a road trip somewhere, chatting, singing to the radio, having a ball together. Probably a combination of positivity, hope and their expectation of a bit of shopping on my credit card ahead!

...NOW B'S RESPONSES...

• What really winds you up about how adults speak to you?

Being treated like we're not as clever/responsible/mature

• What do you really like when being addressed by an adult?

Being spoken to fairly and rationally

• Is there anything you would change about how young people are treated in society, if so what?

That just because they're that labels them less significant. They have ideas, thoughts, feelings, problems, etc... AND they think like the future generation will, there's no point in having world leaders for people our age if they can't even connect and understand them.

• Do you find it easy or difficult to communicate with grown-ups, and why?

I'm not particularly good at talking to people I don't know, also not very good at making eye contact when talking (I find it too pressuring on them, like I'm staring into their soul😂😂) which can come off a bit rude but thats never what I mean.

• What about other children - of the same age, and other ages?

I'm quite nervous when it comes to making new friends but if it's people I know I show them me, all the perks, just me and who I am. So yea, I guess I am comfortable with communicating with other people my age.

• Do you think adults understand you? Why / why not?

It really depends on how much they know me or don't. I suppose it's hard for adults to understand our generation and how we communicate and see the world. So I guess it's a struggle for us and for them.

• What lesson would you like grown-ups to learn about how to communicate with children?

Try to think more like them.

• What question do you think should be on this list? How would you answer it?

What are the struggles for children in this day and age?

...THE NEXT ANSWERS ARE FROM M ....

• What really winds you up about how adults speak to you?

Like I'm smaller than them and that I'm not important

• Do you find it easy or difficult to communicate with grown-ups, and why?

I feel that it depends on the person I'm talking to and what age they are- personally I find it easier to talk to younger adults and old people. I think this is because I find adults in between this age maybe quite intimidating... I'm not that sure

• What lesson would you like grown-ups to learn about how to communicate with children?

That shouting doesn't get you anywhere, if you want to communicate with your child- speak rationally, shouting will only frustrate both people and the outcome will not improve the situation that your trying to solve

...AND FINALLY WE HEAR FROM G ...

• What annoys you about how adults speak to you?

Only when I'm crying and you say 'You're just tired'.

• How do you like a grown-up to be when they speak to you?

I like when they are jokey and when they talk to me about important things and be honest with me.

• What is good and what is bad about being a child?

Good - everything really.
Bad - you get pushed around by older kids, like my sisters!

• Do you find it easy or difficult to talk with grown-ups, and why?

If they're ones I don't really know that much I'm quite shy, but if it's mum or dad I'm fine.

• Is it easy or difficult for you to speak with other children?

Kind of the same as the question before - ones I don't know it's not very easy, and ones I do know, like my friends, it's fine.

• Do you think adults understand you? Why / why not?

Sometimes. Cos sometimes they assume I'm tired when I'm upset, but sometimes I can talk about stuff with them and they do understand me.

• What lesson would you like grown-ups to learn about how to talk to children?

They should listen more than talk. Not to get lost in looking at their phones and then five minutes later say 'what?'