Keeping Lines of Communication Open Practice
Lines of communication can be opened or closed depending on the listener’s response to the speaker. When we listen beyond the words to the feelings and thoughts the speaker may be trying to express, we can build a bridge of empathy that feels respectful and supportive to the speaker. When we respond with our own feelings or thoughts rather than acknowledging the speakers, they can feel disrespected and hurt which usually leads to communication shutting down. Examples of communication blocks are: commanding, giving unwanted advice, placating, interrogating, distracting, psychologizing, being sarcastic, moralizing, and being a know-it-all.
Which of the four responses by a parent opens the lines of communication by connecting with emotions? Most of the responses are a communication block.
A. Child: I just can’t do this. It’s too hard
B. Child: I don’t like my teacher. She’s mean to me.
C. Child: I can’t stand my hair. It never looks good.
D. Child: My friends won’t play with me anymore at school.
E. Child: Homework is just a waste of time. I’m not going to do it!
F. Child: You treat me just like a baby.
G. Child: I don’t like school anymore and I don’t want to go.
ANSWERS: Responses that connect through empathy of child’s feelings, A-3, B-4, C-1, D-2, E-1, F-2 possibly 4, G-4
To learn more about communication blocks read:
©2017 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Family Success Coach since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting coaching sessions. She works with parents of 5 – 25 year-old children.
To learn how Cynthia can help you solve your specific challenges, contact Cynthia at www.bridges2understanding.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 650. 679.8138 to have a complementary 45-minute discovery session. Why keep suffering? It’s time to change!
Watch for my new book Ally Parenting – A Non-Adversarial Approach to Transform Conflict Into Cooperation coming February 2017