Help your adult child get better at conversation

May 27 / Michelle Arseneault
Do you worry that your adult child doesn't have friends? Do you think they struggle with social anxiety or have difficulty with the nuances of how to have a conversation?

Here are some ways you can help your adult child get better at conversation

First, and most importantly, ask if they want help. You can start out by talking to them about a friend of yours that struggles with social anxiety. Explain a situation that happened because of it. If your child shows some interest, ask them if that's something they've encountered.

If they open up and admit to similar struggles, offer to help.
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Model a good conversation when talking to your adult child.

When you talk with them, don't be in parent mode.

Use the same conversation etiquette you would use when speaking with a friend or someone you just met. I don't mean you can't talk about an issue. Just speak to them as you would any other adult. They learn by modelling.
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Point out physical cues (discreetly) when you watch your adult child having a conversation.

You can create signals to help your child to pick up on body language in social situations. A cough and then a scratch on your nose might mean the person they are talking to was showing signs of boredom.

You can also use this technique while watching television. When you notice a social cue on the show you're both watching, rewind it and ask them to pay attention. Then discuss what the behavior was and what it meant. Never do this when other people are around, though. The easiest way to get your adult child to stop listening to you is to embarrass them.
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Practice Turn-Taking when talking to your adult child.

Have practice conversations with them and make a point of taking turns to listen, respond to what the person just said, then add something. The more you practice, the easier it gets.
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Challenge social mistakes with your adult child's conversations.

When you notice they say something rude or hurtful, don't embarrass them in the moment by pointing it out. Instead, write it down so you can remember what happened in detail to explain it to them later. And help them figure out how to make amends with that person.
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I’ve created a free conversation workbook you can download here.

Use it to help someone you love (or yourself) learn how conversations work so they can begin to thrive socially.

The Get Better at Conversation Workbook includes:
  • a 19-page breakdown of the parts of conversation
  • techniques and tips for navigating each part in different scenarios
  • Journal pages with specific techniques to help with practicing the skills
Hey Parents

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