PEP Newsletter

Ideas For Your Parish

________________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                                     April, 2024

Creating Opportunities for Dialogue

         The Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC) recently provided a resource for improving communication between parents or caregivers and their children (  It offers suggestions for ways to “encourage open communications . . .  that help to strengthen your relationship with your child or teen.”  Although focused on connecting with adolescents, it provides helpful tips for relating with others no matter the age.  


Creating regular opportunities to talk with children and youth can have a big impact on their health and well-being.

  • Parents and caregivers can promote healthier and safer experiences by making a habit of knowing about their children’s and youth’s lives and connecting with them through regular check-ins.
  • Connecting with children or youth can reduce their risk for poor mental health and other health risks.

The article went on to offer four practices that could help improve and nourish the level of interaction among parents or caregivers and their children.

  1. Engage in active listening: “Active listening is when you let your child share their thoughts and feelings without interruption.  Once they are finished sharing, try to repeat back to them what you heard in your own words.  This shows you heard what they had to say and understood what they meant.”
  2. Find out more about what they like and why: “You can build connections with your kids by asking about their interests and being curious about their lives. . . .  Encouraging your kids to share what has been happening to them, things they like to do and why, and what they think and feel can build connections.”
  3. Be the person they trust and want to come to when they need an adult: “Make it safe for your kids to share what has been happening with them and what they’re thinking and feeling without worries that you’ll be angry with them or punish them. . . . While certain things they tell you might lead to some follow-up, it is important that you make sharing things with you as safe and comfortable as you can.”
  4. Be patient and consistent: “Your kids may not want to share things with you and, like all relationships, it may take time to build open communication.  Creating regular opportunities for you and your kids to share will help communication grow.”

     These suggestions apply to all relationships, especially those in which people do not agree or share the same viewpoints.  Getting to a level of trust and open sharing may take longer, but the rewards are many.  They could even lead to a long and lasting friendship.  One great service a parish could provide is offering occasions in which people can gather in a safe environment.  Then applying the above criteria, they are invited to share their thoughts and feelings with one another, knowing that they are accepted and respected for who they are and that they will be listened to, whatever they think or have to offer.