Home Addiction Recovery Changing The Conversation Can Make a Big Difference.

Changing The Conversation Can Make a Big Difference.

Changing The Conversation Can Make a Big Difference.


The mother was concerned about her son, so she decided to use CRAFT communication skills to make things better. She was excited to see the difference it made and slowly things started to improve.

Changing the way you talk to your child can make a real difference and make them more open to recovery. The CRAFT method gives four ways to help you replace confrontational conversations with productive ones.

1. Open-Ended Questions

Questions that cannot be answered with a “Yes” or “No” might be helpful. This type of questioning doesn’t make it feel like an interrogation, which can put your child on the defensive. Ask questions that start with words like “How” or “What” to encourage dialogue and learn more about your child.

For example,

  • instead of asking “Did you smoke last night?” you could ask “How did you manage your smoking last night?”
  • Instead of saying “Don’t you want to change?” you could ask “What would be different if you stopped drinking?”
  • Instead of saying “Did you think about trying…?” you could ask “What have you tried to do to feel better about this?”

2. Data Sandwich

As a parent, it can be easy to get into the lecture or confrontational mode when we are concerned about their negative behaviour. The ‘knowledge sandwich’ can help make your child more willing to listen to what you say. Step one is to ask your child if they are willing to have a conversation. By asking permission first, it’s like knocking on your child’s door. This gives your child the option to invite you into the conversation, which can change the mood. Asking first can increase your child’s interest in the conversation and make them feel like you are working together to solve the problem. If they don’t seem interested in talking, wait for a better time. If they are open to talking, briefly present your information and then check in to make sure they understand.

Some parents have suggested that they don’t need to ask permission to speak when their child is in therapy or housing. While I understand their point, the goal is to create a positive atmosphere in which both of you can communicate and move forward. Even though it may not seem like it, keeping the overall goal in mind is important.By talking to your child in a positive way, you are more likely to get them to consider stopping or reducing their drug use.

To have a conversation with your child, these are the steps to follow:
1. Ask your child when is a good time to talk.
2. Briefly explain what you wish to discuss.
3. Check again with your child to make sure they understand.

You may not get it right every time, but this approach helps to create a dialogue. You may not need to use all the steps every time, but it’s a great way to start a conversation so that your child feels like you are talking with them, not at them.

6 Components of Optimistic Communication

You should not use all of these words when talking to your baby. But, these are some good ideas to remember. Even using just a few of them each time will make a difference.

  • Be Temporary (Keep it short)
     Do you remember Charlie Brown’s teacher who went on and on (wha, wha, wha)? I know my kids tuned me out a few times, and maybe yours have too. Try to get to the point as quickly as possible. Saying something once can be enough. Repeating the same thing over and over again can be annoying.
  • Be Optimistic  (Always look at the positive side of a situation)
    When your child is making bad choices, it can be difficult to see anything positive. However, try to look for the silver lining in each situation. Focus on their good qualities and how you can use them to turn the negative into a positive. Look for ways to help them make better decisions in the future.

  • Be Particular and Clear Label Your Emotions:
    It can be helpful to name how you feel. For example, I felt a bit annoyed the other day and I said to myself, “I am feeling frustrated.” By labeling my feeling, I recognized it and the feeling went away. When you talk to your child about your emotions, try to stay calm.

  • Provide an Understanding Assertion:
     When I was younger, I remember feeling overwhelmed and frustrated when I was faced with a difficult situation. I felt a lot like my child does now. By sharing this experience with my child, I was able to show them that I understood their feelings and could relate to them. This connection helped them feel more understood and supported.

  • Settle for Partial Accountability:
    It may be hard for people to accept responsibility for the situation their family is in right now. Remember, you are not responsible for your child’s drug use. You are just acknowledging that maybe the upbringing of your child wasn’t always perfect. Don’t worry. You are not alone.

  • Provide to Assist:
    The easy phrases, “How can I assist?” could make such a distinction and present your help.

4. Dialog Traps

I can see how it’s easy to fall into these traps. Changing the conversation can help a lot in these situations. Instead of giving a lecture, have a discussion with your child. And instead of labeling them as an addict or alcoholic, try to look at the situation objectively and talk about it. Blaming isn’t helpful either, so try to look at the bigger picture and find out what’s really going on.

When talking with your child, try to avoid taking sides when discussing a problem. Taking one side could put them in a position of defending their point of view. Instead, you should try to approach the conversation as a team, working together to come up with different solutions to your child’s problem.

Also, when asking questions, avoid questions that require only yes or no answers. Instead, start your questions with “what” or “how” to open up a dialogue. Avoid using the word “why” as this can lead to defensive responses.

Having productive conversations isn’t always easy, but by following some of these guidelines, you and your child can have a more positive experience.

Changing the Conversation Can Change Everything



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