The Secret Key to Better Connection
One of the first things that we need to be aware of when we are looking to create a better connection with our young people is that we have to get our own agenda out of the way. What I mean by this is you might have an agenda of wanting them to listen, wanting them to calm down or wanting them to be more confident. Get all of that thinking out of the way. They’re not stupid. If they feel like you have an agenda that is different to theirs and that your agenda is one that they do not want to fulfil, you are going to be met with resistance.
Make the connection you create with them is seamless in a way that it’s flowing and that it’s easy. If you start flagging up things like “We’ve got a problem with our communication, I just don’t feel like we’re in a good place right now” or “I don’t feel like we’ve got a good relationship going on”. It’s much more likely to create that sense of resistance from them and it will also make them feel a little bit under scrutiny and under attack.
If it is important that we raise the fact that there is an issue, focus on where it is we want to get to and not where it is that we are right now so that might mean saying something like:
“I know that you’re not as happy as you could be right now and ultimately I want you to be happy. I know that you’re not feeling confident as you could do right now, I want to make sure that we can improve on that situation.”
Once we can get our own agenda out of the way, what we’re going to be doing is thinking about how they like to communicate, how they like to listen and what makes them feel good. We’re going to be thinking about what would work for them right now because the thing is what we ultimately want when we’re building connection and trust with others is to make the other person feel good enough to allow themselves to be more vulnerable and a little bit more kind of open to letting us into their life.
If what we’re doing is thinking about what we can get out of it, for example, ‘Why is this connection missing for me?’ or ‘why is the communication not there for me?’ It becomes quite a selfish act and the other person does pick up on that at some level. We’ve got to instead stop thinking about what our needs and wants are in this relationship and start thinking about what their needs and wants are in the relationship. How it is that we can fulfil those and then we’ll see that that connection begins to build without the resistance there.
We’re going to be really invested in them really invested in ‘How do I make this person feel good, how do I have this person feel most relaxed around me and how do I have this person feel at their absolute best?’
The key thing is beyond making them feel good and in developing the trust for that connection and better communication flowing. Then you need to know ‘how do I know when I’ve got it?’ What, realistically what’s it going to look like when you’ve got what you want? Therapy for parents and children might be helpful here.
If you are a parent of a three-year-old girl, there may be a connection on the basis that she offers for you to play Barbie with her. Think about who they are and what is a realistic outcome to work towards. What does a connection with that particular person look like?
We have to get ourselves out of the equation and instead of thinking about what we want to get from this; think about what do I need to do to really build up a connection, communication and trust with them? Do I need to adjust the way in which I am listening to them? The way in which I am communicating with them? Give them more space if that’s indeed what they are asking for! Sometimes part of bringing people closer together is about stepping further away. Think about what you need to do for them.
Once we have got ourselves out of the equation think about what the outcome is going to look like given the fact that we’re being realistic about who they are, what age they are, and what connection might be like for them rather than just what it is like for us. If we can communicate with them about what it is that we’re working on then we will (but it is not necessary because we’re the ones with the problem here.) They’re quite possibly not experiencing any kind of problem except for the way in which we are interacting with them so keep all of those things in mind.
If you need any help in achieving this then reach out to speak to a child therapist from NLP4Kids.
By Gemma Bailey