Everyone shouts but no one hears.
I was thinking about our topic of the week early Monday morning whilst out walking with the dogs and suddenly, they all disappeared in the direction of something more interesting. Despite my yelling, it took some time for them all to reappear. Sometimes everyone in the household can feel like this – everyone is shouting and no one is being heard! Do you feel like you have lost your voice in the family? There are many reasons why this happens and yes, you can do something about it!
Why do we feel unheard?
There are many reasons why we sometimes feel we are disappearing into the background of our own family. As parents, we are sometimes so consumed by the logistics of everyday life and don’t have the mental energy to engage with the outside world – we tell ourselves we don’t have anything interesting to say and therefore don’t say anything!
There are Mums who have sons and feel alienated by all the sports talk that goes on, or Dads who have daughters who don’t feel like they are part of the chat or sometimes it’s the other way around!
Cultural differences can also make a difference. For example, if you grew up speaking a different language than your children, it adds another layer of complexity to family discussions. Maybe you or your partners culture has unspoken rules of conduct that structure how conversations work.
Likewise, the number of children in your family or how you grew up can also have an impact – did you grow up in family that actively encouraged lively debate or were children seen and not heard?
Your individual needs
If you are more introverted and just need time on your own after a busy day you may not feel like entering into long discussions with other family members.
People often feel like they have nothing interesting to talk about as well – maybe you have been talked over once too often and that has affected your confidence. And there are so many other things that can affect our confidence – hormones for example!
Or it may be that you find it difficult to stick to your rules as you are appeasing everyone (people pleasers note here!) and you prioritise everyone getting along over putting boundaries in place.
It may be that your teenagers are the ones that are feeling unheard. As parents, we are supposed to know what is going on with them by body language alone sometimes!
How to start being heard.
It can all seem a bit of a minefield and difficult to know where to start but here are some ideas to get you going.
Firstly, work out what is the real challenge for you – it can really help to talk this through with someone and sift through the issues – if not a coach then a good friend or partner.
Check what assumptions you are making about yourself – is it really true that you have nothing interesting to say for example?
Think about what message you are trying to say and why – if it’s a tidy house you are craving why is it important to you and how can you speak that message rather than just nagging everyone to pick up their laundry!
Acknowledge the reasons why you might be feeling a bit unconfident – you might just need to exercise your confidence muscle again. Think through what you can do to help start building that a bit. If you need a voice at the dinner table, try asking for your moment in the spotlight – you might just start with relaying what you have heard and seen in the discussion and see what happens.
If it’s your teenager that is feeling unheard, try deploying some empathetic listening skills (our free workshop can help you there).
Above all WHEN YOU HAVE WORKED OUT WHAT YOU NEED, ASK FOR IT! you will be amazed at the response!
Break it down and find your voice again.
Getting into the negative spiral of feeling unheard is common and we often feel a bit despairing of ever getting out of it. By working out some of your own reasons for feeling that way and breaking down what’s important to you and what real message you want to convey you can start to break the cycle and find your voice again.