A landmark study by Dr. Deborah Yurgelun-Todd at McClean Hospital, a medical research facility for Harvard University, found that tweens read facial expressions incorrectly about 50% of the time. More often than not, they read your emotion as anger, even when you may be feeling empathy, surprise, shock, disappointment…or even physical pain.
Have you ever asked your child a simple question only to have them snap, “You don’t have to get mad at me!” when you thought you were just expressing concern?
The key to keeping the doors of communication open during the middle school years is to practice what I call “Botox Brow.” Don’t ever furrow your brow when talking with a middle schooler. Keep your face neutral and use your words to convey how you feel instead of relying on your facial expressions to do that. This will ensure that kids stick around long enough to hear what you have to say!
Watch me demo “Botox Brow” in action: