Parenting Styles

Why You Need Drive-Through Communication


drive through communication

Can your children really talk to you?  When I was growing up, my Mom told us we could say anything to her, as long as we said it respectfully.  Another parent we heard of uses this method: “I told my daughter that anytime that she needs to talk to me about something and is concerned that I might get angry, that she should tell me ‘I need to talk with you and I don’t want you to get upset.’  This provides her with a comfort level to know that I will listen to her without blowing up or yelling at her. It alerts me to the fact that she has something important to tell me and that I need to listen and reflect on the matter so that I can give her support and guidance.

The goal, of course, is to let our children know that they don’t have to be afraid to talk to us, and that we are willing to listen to them calmly.  This also means that we don’t jump in right away with advice or solutions.  Listen first, let your child know you have heard them, and then, and only then move onto giving feedback.

Before you get into a heated discussion with your child, you need to clearly identify the problem.

So, sit down with your child and try to pinpoint the exact issue. While you’re doing this, use the drive-through communication method.  Family expert Gary Smalley says it works the same way a drive-through window works.

1. Get a “Speaker Item.”

This can be anything from a pencil to a TV remote.  The person speaking holds the item.  When they are finished, they give the item to the other person.  Only the person with the item is allowed to speak.

2. One person speaks at a time in a relatively short statement.

Mom: “Josh, I don’t like the way you’ve been treating your brother while I’m at work.”

3. Then have your child repeat back what you’ve said.

Son: “Ok, so you don’t like the way I’ve been treating Sam while you’re at work.”

By having the listener repeat what’s been stated, you ensure that he heard you.   Now, a couple of other important points. Don’t give your opinions or assume you know how the other person is feeling. Just give your side.  You want to zero in on just one point at a time.  That’s crucial.

So, let’s finish the conversation…

Mom: “That’s right.  So, we’re going to make some changes.”

Son: “I hear you.  We’re going to make changes.”

Mom: “Right.  So let’s talk about those changes.”

From there, mom lays out a point in each statement, with her son repeating back what he’s heard.  Finally, her son will get a chance to initiate statements of his own, with mom repeating back his comments.

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  • Worried mom

    This is a great article. More needs to be done about the easy access kids have to porn. You never hear about this scary epidemic on the news. We tell kids “don’t do drugs” and “don’t text and drive” which are equally important, but I believe there needs to be a campaign more widely advertised to protect our children from online porn. I have restrictions set on my 13 year old sons phone and only I know the code. I have his internet search settings on so he can’t access adult websites. He doesn’t like the restrictions but to me it’s necessary. I’m so afraid of what will happen with this generation of kids with iPhones and tablets etc whose parents haven’t set any restrictions on them.

  • drrichardnorris

    Every parent needs to be vigilant if they truly care about the growth and development of their kids. We also need to be engaged with our kids daily life including their friends etc.

    I cannot fathom how some people see porn as okay when it causes so much harm in marriages and denigrates intimacy between man and a woman into something purely physical not to mention the men and women who are lured into the industry.

    Thanks for reminding me to pray about this for my kids, my family and society as a whole.

  • Wife

    Its overwhelming how vigilant we have to be and discouraging trying to keep up. Technology is changing so fast as a working mom I am not able to keep up with the many ways kids can go around the blocks put in place.
    I know that throwing away all the technology is not the answer, but sometimes I’m tempted.
    I feel like I need constant advice in the many areas I need to watch out for. I don’t have cable tv, but I have netflix, and when placing restrictions, I found some of my teenagers just went around me and visit websites that show all the tv shows that I would not allow in my home. I can’t keep up. That avenue is worst then having the cable stream through your living room. I shut off the internet in my home when I go to bed to eliminate internet browsing at night when everyone’s asleep. That helps. Even my teenager who has openly confess struggling with porn admits that was something he needed however what more can I do when its open all around them any hour of the day, by anyone in their lives.
    This is really a problem.

  • Tina Davis

    One of the best things I have found to share with your boys is session #2 of Andy Stanleys – New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating. It is available free as a download to view and listen to through his ministry. It says that when you view pornography you are going to school. You are being taught that 1. A real woman’s body is not enough 2. Your wife’s body is not enough and 3. that one body is not enough – it is powerful and one of the best teachings to explain the damage that pornography will do long term.

  • Becky

    I would love to see a follow-up article to this that would lay out methods for how to set up protections on phones/computers/tablets/Tvs. Something in a step-by-step format would be extremely helpful.

    • Wife

      That’s a great idea, I would love to see that too. My kids are smarter then me when comes to technology . I need help.