Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weekly LIFETip: A Communication Situation

LIFECoach Tip: Have you got a communication situation?

Hi Ladies,

Recently I received an email from a mother who shared: "I just came in from picking up my son and having a huge shouting match about his misplaced homework being my fault, all this while driving. I flipped out and he flipped out, so now he's grounded for a week, and of course he doesn't care. I left him in the car for a few hours to write a paper on why he should respect his mom and how this whole thing could have been avoided. I came back to my desk at work crying thinking, 'This is just the beginning. What am I to do for the next six teenage years?'"

My response to her, and to you if you have a communication situation with a teenager, or husband, or co-worker, is to consider using validation and repair attempts. Validation is understanding his position, which position may be totally irrelevant, or really out there. But it's vital to validate that he FEELS that, "I can see how you feel that way, that I'm just spending most of my time picking on you." Then you can sweetly move into the "Can we look at it from another angle..." A repair attempt is when things escalate, you take a deep breath, and say something like, "You know, I love you son, and this conversation isn't going somewhere helpful. I really want to hear what you're saying, so I'll speak softer." It's also adding a little light-hearted humor, "So in a nutshell, you're saying I'm annoying???" As you validate or use a repair attempts, and KEEP YOUR COOL, you'll see big changes in your ability to communicate.

All my best,
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