TOPIC 59 INDULGE IN SILENCE This one is for all power leaders and remember that means parents, teachers, coaches, bosses, older siblings, friends, and lovers. Conversations by definition are two way streets. Every definition I looked up spoke of exchange.
The first was one I don’t remember hearing. It is Cranky Old Lady’s nominee for the best of the ten: “Speak only as long as the other person spoke. Conversation equity is reached sooner than you think. This is true because you’re more interesting, for you. Stop talking sooner.”
The hardest for me to follow: “Always ask questions before making suggestions, always.” In my defense, I do follow this one, particularly if working as a therapist. But in everyday life my mouth runneth on like my over-active brain. What saves me is my attention to the very first sign of glazing over in the other person’s eyes. Then I say, “Not sure my idea is helping you. Tell me more about what is bothering you.”
I do know enough to ask anyone in pain or spouting bullets of anger, “What do you need from me to help?” before offering my ideas.
When assessing suicidal potential in an adolescent, many refused to talk. Or at least until I said, “If you don’t talk, I guarantee I will decide you are suicidal.”
For most that lead to conversation.
For the few who maintained silence, I had to up the ante which meant calling 911 and having the youth hauled off to the emergency room. Usually, I gave one more option to speak. “The ball is in your court, think it over for a five minutes, and if you don’t want to talk to me, maybe you’ll feel more comfortable with the people in the ER. “
STAYING STRONG TIP: All above are staying strong tips. I have two more:
Tip One: When seeking conversational equity, context matters. The equity balance works best in most informal situations between equals.
Teachers are but one example of the need to change the equity balance. Curriculums demand imparting of a certain amount of information. Still it pays to watch for the glazed eyes that say your words are being wasted. That is when the experts suggest a change in method. Lecturing, ask for questions. Ask a student to summarize the material just covered
Parents are the most guilty of running mouth disease. It is one of the major points made by Thomas Phelen , a clinical psychologist and author of One, Two, Three, Magic. as well as a number of other parenting books.
Phelen believes parents make two major mistakes. Parents talk too much and parents think children are miniature adults. Cranky Old Lady says “Right on Tom.”
Parents do talk too much, and children are not small adults.
Tip Two: Never assume what you say is what the other person heard. As a foster parent my last nerve wan often stepped on. Lead to anger, what I said in anger was rarely heard. If I took the time to ask when I ranting, “Can you tell me what you did that made me angry?” Very few really got it.
Almost every parenting guru shakes his or her fingers at parental anger. Cranked me up even when I was not old and gray.
Expecting parents to always be calm and cool is expecting more than parents can deliver. Maybe it can be done if a servant of one sort or another is raising the child. But I could not stay calm, cool, and collected.Eventually I developed what I call the CARE Response
C is for Care and Confront. If you care you must confront unacceptable behavior. People being people the confrontation is not always gentle. But caring means when you have let off the necessary amount of steam and realize you might be blowing air hot, you take a breath and move on.
A means Allying with the child. Allying can be done just by taking a breath and lowering your voice. I sometimes said, “Now, that’s off my chest, let us talk about this.”
R is for Reviewing. Reviewing is talking about the situation. Reviewing is best started by saying, “Do you get why I am angry?” Amazing what sins were revealed by that question, but these were best ignored unless involving a major un-solved crime. The goal of Review is to make certain you and the child know the behavior that is being talked about.
E is the final step and it stands for Expectations and Ending on a positive note. Agreed upon punishments will be put into play with the expectation that the behavior will not be repeated. .Jo Frost aka Nanny 911 stresses making certain a child sitting in timeout, knows why and can say “Sorry” When the child says sorry, he or she gets a hug. My foster children would get a thank you and when appropriate a hug.
FUEL MY HOPES: Practice kindness and strengthen both of us. Like, comment, or share.
Kindness is an Emotional Fitness Exercise. Click here for all 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Training Exercises.