Solutions For Parents

Middle Childhood » Communication

There's a Better Way to Communicate

Share This Article: On Twitter On Facebook Print

It’s a process (not really steps at all) that teaches people (teachers, children and parents) how to get things done with respect, self-control and some semblance of democracy.

First – Teach Yourself how to be genuinely cooperative in your own life, in your own circle of family and among your own friends. Make yourself use specific cooperative actions, such as asking for help, or saying out loud that there is no one way to do anything. Asking for assistance is a vital skill all people need to learn, in order to feel good about themselves and to feel competent. Cooperative actions must be practiced. Show other people what you consider good cooperative behavior. Show your family how to ask for help, how to give compliments, how to ask for time to have talks, meetings and conversations. The hope that when there are differences, everyone will recall how to behave.

Practice asking permission to discuss or converse
Practice cooperation and helping each other
Give family members plenty of reminders about cooperating
Reward brainstorming and cooperation
Have family meetings

Next – Make a resolution to depersonalize your words when there is a problem, say “what’s going on here?” or “What is the situation?” rather than calling people you or she-names, using accusing or threatening words. STOP saying “you didn’t take out the trash the way I told you”…Start saying, “I noticed that the garbage is still here…your room isn’t cleaned up”…” I wonder if this IFSP would sound better if…”

Practice listening then talking
Give complements, as a way of getting people to listen
Practice ways that help you to keep your cool

Last – take the time to write down what you are experiencing, what is happening in your life, your family situation. Keep notes and records, so that you have information which you can use when communications and negotiations break down.

Take the time on a regular basis to write (or make an audio tape) of your opinions, of options and choices you think of. This skill allows you to act rationally and calmly when you need to deliver strong messages. Learn to document your actions, beliefs and needs in ways that facilitate conversational problem-solving.

Ask Dr. Susan