When Life Gives You Mismatched Sleeves…

I recently took advantage of acquiring a new shirt to help myself, and to show others, how creativity helps navigate challenges with communication.

I got the shirt when I was working at the Mindful Society Conference with a colleague, Eli Brown, founder of STYLO (a Canadian fashion company dedicated to supporting mental health initiatives). A woman came by our booth to return a STYLO shirt she had purchased because one sleeve was longer than the other. There must have been a mishap at the factory where the wrong sleeve was sewn to the shirt.

I thought the shirt looked cool with the odd sleeve lengths and Eli said I could I have it 🙂

I wore the shirt for one of my parenting workshops to illustrate how I use creativity to transform certain situations. I put a heavy focus on using creativity to problem-solve communication challenges with children. Most parents will notice that when they get stuck and feel irritated about cycles with their kids, it’s difficult to identify opportunities to connect and communicate effectively. One of the most useful things I teach people is how to get creative in challenging situations in order to see connecting opportunities; therefore communicate more effectively.

Being creative takes time and energy, but it can have long-term positive outcomes that help you become a more limitless parent. Next time an argument is on the rise with your kids, get creative and look for opportunities to connect. This doesn’t mean that you support ALL behaviours, but it puts you in a better position for effective communication and addressing problems. Consider the following:

1. Your child’s tardiness in the morning could be about a situation at school that they’re avoiding. Try making time for a fun 10-minute after-school routine for two weeks (like going to the park or an ice-cream shop) and engage in casual conversations about the day. Listen for any signs about struggles they may be having with peers or teachers.

2. Bedtime push-back could be your child’s way of expressing their need to have more quality time with you. I suggest having a conversation with your child and offer to move bedtime 15 minutes later so you can have some additional quality time. Show a bit of negotiation now and it could save you time and energy down the road.

3. Does your child constantly interrupt you when you have company? Many parents discover that, when they invite their kids to contribute to the conversation (this includes any and all topics), kids will either add valuable insights to the conversation, or will quickly realize they would rather be doing something else and they leave the adult conversation.

You can use creativity and connection to help build more effective communication with other relationships including; your spouse, colleagues, friends, and family.

Write to me to let me know how it goes as you experiment with creativity in your life.

All my best,

Amber McAuley