What are invisible conversations? We all have them. They are the conversations which run around in our heads but never come out of our mouths. They are the conversations which influence our behaviors ever-so-powerfully because they are fueled by an inordinate amount of energy which is not expressed. Think about it…what would you say to your boss, your co-workers, your spouse/partner, your friend, your enemy, your children, your parents, if you had no inhibitions?

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The problem is…there are many reasons why we don’t say what we want and need to say in our relationships, but there is a cost in keeping silent. Perhaps the relationships which suffer the most are those with our children. When conversations with our children become invisible, we and they experience a disconnect which could lead to some poor choices down the road.

According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, “Teenagers whose parents talk to them regularly about the dangers of drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those whose parents don’t, yet only 1 in 4 teens reports having these conversations.” Now that’s an old statistic from 1999, but I don’t think we’ve gotten much better. (Partnership For a Drug-Free America website)

Shiela Heen, co-author of “Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most” says, “Families often have difficulty actually having important conversations, even though they know they’re necessary….Once they begin to actually have those talks, things happen and decisions can be made.”

The key is being mindful in all our relationships. What is it that is keeping my from saying what I really mean and need to say in this situation? Am I afraid of losing something I have or not getting something I want? Is my relationship with my own parents influencing the conversations I am NOT having with my on children.

These are some things I am pondering as I head out to address a group at Microsoft headquarters today.

Bringing light to that which has been invisible.

Here are some recent resources I have found helpful:

“Losers, Loners and Rebels, The Spiritual Struggles of Boys”
Robert Dykstra, Allan Hugh Cole, Jr, Donald Capps, Westminster, John Knox Press, 2007

“The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth”
Alexandra Robbins, Hyperion, 2011

“The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Corage and Confidence”
Rachel Simmons, Penguin Press, 2009

“Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most”
Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, Penguin Books, 1999

www.respectu.com Dr. Joel Haber’s site on bullying
“Bully-Proof Your Child For Life”

Shannon’s teleseminar series: “Surviving Adolescence: What’s REALLY Going on With Your Kids”
www.shannonawhite.com/surviving-adolesence

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