The One Word that Ruins Everything

parent coach parenting parenting help Jan 26, 2023
The One Word that Ruins Everything by Ann Kaplan Parent Coach

 Do you make this mistake? 

One of the mamas in my group program was troubleshooting a conversation she had with her tween about grades: 

“I was doing great - validating her emotions, asking good questions, listening well, and staying neutral. Then I told her I could see she was working so hard to get where she wanted to go in school, but she had just a few missing assignments left. After that, she shut down and stormed off. What gives?!?!”

I saw what happened right away, and it was an easy fix. (I love when that happens - so rare in parenting, amiright?) 

She used the one word that tanks even the best parent-child interactions:


‘But’ throws a grenade into communication because it discounts everything that led up to it. Imagine how you feel when your kid says something like, “Thanks for driving me and my friends to the mall, but your car music is SO embarrassing!” 😡 

No wonder this tween wanted out of talking with her mom. In her mind, she was working her tail off to improve her grades, and her mom dismissed it because she had a few missing scores!


Luckily, swapping the word ‘but’ for ‘and’ easily changes things. Notice the difference: 

“I can see you’re working so hard to get where you want to go in school, and you have just a few missing assignments left.”

Now, Mom comes off like the supportive, proud parent she really is instead of the pessimistic, critical person her daughter took her to be. 

Are all communication challenges this simple?

Of course not; communication is a big part of what I work on with my clients precisely because it is so tricky! But sometimes, things get to be easy if you only know the little tweaks and why they work! 

In my group program, you get lifetime access to a coach who knows both the simple and complex ways to address communication or whatever you’re working on with your child, as well as a phenomenal collective of moms just like you.

Schedule a FREE Parenting Discovery Call! 

Starting to think this group program might be perfect for you? Let’s chat and find out! In our call, I’ll find out about your challenges, give you honest feedback about how to change things, and show you how the group program can help you. I can’t wait to meet you!

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