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‘Watercooler’ Chat – Strategies for Navigating Conversations with your Daughter


‘Watercooler’ Chat – Strategies for Navigating Conversations with your Daughter

Do you find it hard to communicate with your daughter?

The following is a concept discussed in more depth in Courageous Parenting, facilitated by youth expert Tanya Meessmann and neuroscientist Dr Diane Harner.

For a healthy relationship to truly flourish between yourself and your daughter, communication is key.

One of the more lighthearted and fun ways that you can build your communication and connection with your daughter is through passive conversation, we like to call it the ‘water cooler chat’.

This is really just having a chat in a lighthearted environment with lighthearted topics.

First: Get the set-up right.

Passive conversations with your daughter are most effective when you are placed side by side, rather than looking at each other. For example when you don’t have that direct eye contact, when you’re not looking into each other’s faces:

  • when you’re driving in the car
  • maybe when you’re doing the dishes
  • when you’re going for a walk
  • when you’re doing the shopping together

This instills a feeling of safety. This, in turn allows your daughter to feel more inclined to reveal a little bit more than she might have planned to, because she just feels that security.

Next: Pick a topic.

The most effective topics to cover in a water cooler are anything that is circling your daughter’s life that she doesn’t attach feelings of stress or pressure to.

For example:

  • talking about the latest TV show she’s watching
  • her thoughts on local or global events
  • discussing anything from fashion to art
  • to music to sport just to name a few.

With this method however, you need to be a bit careful. When implementing this into your everyday interactions with your daughter you don’t want to make it tooooooo obvious and awkward!

But it’s really important to try. What we often find is that we sort of sacrifice water cooler chat in favour of life admin especially when our schedules and time is racing.

We don’t really stop and make intentional time for it. The challenge to you is to try to carve out some of that time

But the #1 reason why this passive conversation is SO IMPORTANT is that it provides both of you opportunities to practice communicating together, to practice speaking back and forth and sharing conversations.

Through this ongoing practice, you both learn a lot about each other.

You learn about each of your own communication styles, about your interests.  And what we see time and time again is that when these conversations are instigated in this gentle and non-confrontational way, they often lead into something deeper.

So you might start off by pulling the spaghetti off the shelf at Coles and getting your tomato sauce, and by the end you might end up talking about how she’s desperately afraid of failing math, and it’s going to ruin the rest of her life.

These are absolutely rich starting points that the more you can integrate into everyday life, and as a result the better and stronger your connection is going to become.

Water cooler top tips…..

Conversation starters: Fashion, TV shows, sports, trending music, weekend plans

Places to chat: Side by side in the car, at the grocery shop, ad breaks, walking the dog

What to avoid: Math results, friendship drama, boy drama, the recent gossip (these topics will emerge over time once a strong connection is formed through easy communication)

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