Dear Dr. Marnee,
I am a busy parent of 3 terrific kids. Who isn’t busy?!?!  I am reaching out because I need advice. Whenever the kids get in the car at the end of their day or when we reunite at home, I ask how their day was.  I get the following kind of responses and it drives me bananas: Fine. Good. Nothing. How can I get them to tell us more?  
Dear fabulous parent:
I am sure you all already know that I believe that communication is the heartbeat of any meaningful relationship. Whether it’s within a family, among friends, or within a team… fostering open and constructive communication is key to understanding, empathy, and growth.   Here is a fun tool that can be effective in cultivating these connections: “Rose, Bud, and Thorn.”

What is “Rose, Bud, and Thorn”?

Imagine a simple way to express thoughts and feelings. “Rose, Bud, and Thorn” is a communication exercise that provides a structured framework for sharing highs, potentials, and challenges in any given situation or period. Here’s a breakdown of each component:
Rose (Highlight): The “Rose” represents the positive aspects, highlights, or successes. It allows individuals to share what went well, what brought joy, or any positive experiences. I like to have kids and adults offer 3 peddles of the day. For kids lunch or recess counts just as much as a delish cup of coffee would for an adult.
Bud (Potential): The “Bud” signifies the potential or opportunities for growth. It encourages participants to express their hopes, aspirations, or anything they see as a budding possibility for the future. For kids, an upcoming field trip or sports game counts. For adults, the weekend or dinner with family or friends or an upcoming project counts.
Thorn (Challenge): The “Thorn” represents the challenges, obstacles, or difficulties faced. It creates a space for acknowledging and discussing the aspects that may have been tough or presented hurdles. For kids, dealing with a mean peer or completing a writing assignment is just as valid as for a parent juggling all that comes along with our roles.

Why “Rose, Bud, and Thorn”?

Encourages Reflection: The structure of “Rose, Bud, and Thorn” prompts individuals to reflect on their experiences. This reflective process fosters self-awareness and a deeper understanding of one’s own emotions and thoughts.
Promotes Positivity: By starting with the positive (“Rose”), the method sets a tone of gratitude and appreciation. This creates a constructive atmosphere, making it easier to address challenges and potentials.
Facilitates Open Communication: The framework provides a clear and non-confrontational way for individuals to express both positive and negative aspects. It opens the door for honest and transparent communication. Judgment free.
Strengthens Connection: Sharing “Rose, Bud, and Thorn” is a shared experience. It allows individuals to connect on a deeper level, understanding each other’s perspectives and contributing to a stronger bond within relationships. When kids can talk about their regular stuff without judgment from parents, then it will be easier for them to talk to you about serious stuff too.
I encourage incorporating “Rose, Bud, and Thorn” into your communication toolkit with your family.  Take the time and see how it can transform how individuals connect, share, and grow together. I totally believe in the importance of acknowledging the highs, potentials, and challenges of our lives, no matter if we are young or old.  Try it with the grandparents too.  Hope this helps. Let me know.
Dr. Marnee