The Languages of Parenting, by Susan Beyler

I think……..

Momspeak is the language of encouraging the child to explore all the space available to them within a set of boundaries. These boundaries can be somewhat fluid, since, as the parent we are present to identify a problem early in its development.

When the ‘child’ gets to be old enough that they spend most of their time outside the influence of our care and attention, we have to add the language of parentspeak.

Once we are no longer responsible for their safety, we can return to speaking only momspeak.

Parentspeak is the language of naming the boundaries in their lives that are not fluid or negotiable.

First problem – the model we grew up with – ‘because I said so’ worked (mostly).

Now we live in a world where our teens have global mentality and ‘because I said so’ becomes diluted without the community enforcement available to my parents.

Second big problem – we have to learn the language empirically – on the job; no training manual. Pass or fail shows up in the results; no grading curve available. Not only do we have to learn a new language, we also have to learn how to use it effectively – on the job!

Third big problem – there are a zillion opinions on how to ‘do it right’ and everything is available for consumption. It would be helpful, except that each teen is on the journey to emerge as a human that has never existed before, so the books and media might not have anything to do with our life.

Fourth big problem – an infrastructure of parent support is essential but often looks like ‘yeah, they are crazy…you won’t believe what my kid did’ or ‘poor dear, poor us, let’s support each other in our chaos’.

Fifth problem – we don’t live in the same world as the teens – they speak a totally foreign language – and neither parents nor teens are good at translations.

When I work with parents and teens, my work is to translate and help everyone stay focused and productive.

The problems are real problems that need real solutions.  Adding facts to effective communication changes 'because I said so' into 'that's how reality is right now' - removing the power struggle.