Parenting relationships: when to talk and listen Dos and Donts


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
Parenting relationships: when to talk and listen

Practical Parenting shows you how to talk so he will listen and listen so he will talk
Going from partners to parents brings new challenges, decisions and negotiations. Knowing how best to talk and listen will help you to stay close and to truly share with and support each other through your parenting journey.

DON’T SAY:“Nothing’s wrong!”
DO SAY: “I’d like to talk to you about such and such, is now a good time for you?”
Not talking can be just as bad for a relationship as having frequent vocal arguments. If you’re yelling at your partner on the inside but can’t voice your feelings appropriately, it can lead to frustration and resentment on both sides. Be open and honest to get to the heart of any problems and start problem-solving.

DON’T SAY: “You never do anything around the house!”

DO SAY: “I could really use your help with…”
Saying “you never…” invites defensiveness and can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When
you say this, your partner is likely going to think, ‘She doesn’t recognise the times I do help, so what’s the point?’. This can mean he loses motivation and you continue to be unsupported. Asking for assistance avoids blame and attack and builds goodwill and a sense of teamwork instead.

DON’T SAY: “You’ve put the nappy on wrong, so it’s leaking!”

DO SAY: “I struggled with these too! Can I show you what seems to work?”

New dads can be just as sensitive as new mums and criticism undermines self-esteem. Also, dads who feel incompetent at home can overcompensate by putting in more effort at work. Revealing your own struggles builds openness, mutuality and opportunities to share parenting as the learning experience it is for the both of you.

DON’T SAY: “You always get to go out and I don’t!”

DO SAY: “I need a break tonight”
Exaggerations that come from using the word “always” can cause your partner to simply dismiss what you are saying as untrue. They also set couples up for competition (with both of you keeping track of your position of being ‘one up’ or ‘one down’). Being specific and assertively asking for what you need in a non-judgemental, non-accusing way will increase awareness, respect and the chances of cooperation.

DON’T SAY: “You have to/must/should…”

DO SAY: “Hey honey, would you mind…”
When it sounds like an order, your partner can feel like he has to follow it and he may, but resentfully. These messages can trigger feelings of being ‘spoken down to’ or controlled. Politely making a request gives him a choice and paves the way for negotiation.
When he turns away, ignores you or goes silent, it usually means he’s unaware that something is important to you, doesn’t know how to respond, or has got a lot going on inside that he’s trying to manage. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care.

Quiet blokes tend to open up only when they feel safe (willingly) or when they feel attacked (defensively). To open the lines of communication, you need to gain your man’s trust. When he feels accepted and appreciated he’ll be secure enough to reveal more of himself. When he does, suspend your reactions and give him time.

Be curious. Gently ask questions to help clarify what he’s saying and check back with him to understand before you respond. Most communication problems begin with misunderst-andings, negative interpretations or assumptions. Clearing them up will bring you closer together.


Banned User
May 21, 2012
Wow!! These simple everyday made them sound so simple. There have been several times when I have said these dialogues to my parents and they have thought that I am being rude. Parents misunderstand kids at times and vice versa. This mothers day, I came across a song by Shraddha Sharma dedicated to her mother. She is a great web sensation and has a million followers. But, when it comes to her best critic and audience, it is her mother. This teen has now been roped in by Hair & Care for their latest TVC. Way to go girl...or should I say for her mother coz she is the rock behind this famous teen.

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