Editor's Note: Brian Foreman, a social media educator and Raleigh dad of two, will begin writing about social media, communication and kids today. For more about Foreman, read this earlier post.
At my first job, I was told “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason,” which meant to listen at least twice as much as I spoke.
That was my earliest professional lesson about communication. I heeded that lesson, and as a result, I spent much of my time paying attention to other forms of communication, particularly the non-verbal ones. Today, with a 14-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter in my house, I’m still learning about communication.
Communication, what is it? Is it what we say and what we hear? Is it how we say it and how we filter what we hear? Is it non-verbal communication, like body language and how the eyes speak? Is it a written note, a card, an email or a tweet? The answer to all of these question is yes, of course, and so much more. If that is the case, then why is communication so difficult between parents and their children, especially as you enter the tween and teen years?
Why do I get grunts from my son and dramatic stomp offs from my daughter? Why do I have to repeat myself so often? The reason is simple: communication is hard. Cell phones and digital media are adding additional layers, particularly as your children are getting older and seeking greater independence, which by the way is a good thing.
I will write regularly about communication and social media, particularly how they relate to our families. While you often see things that make you want to wrap your child up and insulate them from potential harm, I hope we can find ways together to equip our children for this brave new world, and have a great time learning with them.
And, while I am fascinated by all the new tools and forms of communication, I still learn best about my kids when I invoke that first rule I learned, “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.”
If you have questions about social media, adolescence or ideas for future posts, I’d love to hear from you. All comments, threats, ideas and hate mail can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @b4man72.
Brian Foreman, a Raleigh dad of two, is a social media educator. Go to his website for more information about his book "How to be Social Media Parents." Find him here monthly on Go Ask Mom.