Ask a Parent Coach

Improving Family Communication

  • I am trying to set some tough boundaries with my child but find that setting those boundaries is not working as I always give in. What am I doing wrong?

    There is no right or wrong as you travel this path of the unknown and there is no one size fits all. Setting boundaries and sticking to them is so very difficult. As parents of children using substances, we often see their pain and their hurt. When we contemplate actions that might add to their pain, it becomes so very difficult to wrap our heads around. It might not feel right but evidence and science tell us that letting the negative consequences resulting from “negative” behavior be felt and ...

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  • I want to help my child but every attempt leads to an argument with one of us walking away. How can I help if we can't even have a conversation?

    Anger, frustration, and stress play a critical role in the breakdown of communication. When communication breaks down in the face of fear stress and emotion too often, we can get to that place of isolation or giving up on our child. The fact that you are asking how can I help is encouraging as some might find it easier to walk away. Developing new tools and strategies for more effective communication has been shown to be one of the most powerful things you can do to improve your relationship wit...

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  • My husband and I disagree on how to help our child. All we do is fight. Can we ever get on the same page or find a common ground?

    You are not alone. This is a common theme in every family. It’s no wonder too as the stress, differences of opinion, and learning how to compromise can be exhausting. Getting on that same page does not require you and your husband to agree on everything but rather agree to work with one another for the sake of your child and the entire family. Evidence tells us that families have better outcomes and are able to engage and help their child when they work together and show a united front. How ca...

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