Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Are you Blocking Your Road To Communication??
Telling Others What To Do: This sort of communication tells others that you do not care about their feelings, that you are more concerned with having things the way you want them. Giving orders tells others that you do not trust their judgement and it communicates lack of acceptance. Telling others what to do is hostile communication and it produces fear, not respect.
Examples: "I said to turn those lights off right now.' 'Get up and get my dinner.'
Threats and Warnings: When we threaten others we stop all negotiation because the communication is one way only. Threats communicate disrespect for others' feelings and wishes.
Examples: 'If you don't eat that now, I'll feed it to you.' 'You don't want to see me if you make me angrier.' 'If you talk back one more time, I'm going to slap you.'
Preaching and Judging: This type of communication provokes guilt and resentment in others. It suggests that they are somehow 'bad' or 'unacceptable'. Judging and preaching communications are full of words such as 'should' 'must' 'have to' and 'ought to'.
Examples: 'You'd better be good.' 'A really good parent would never do what you just did'. 'You shouldn't act like that'.
Giving Advice: Most people do not want advice unless they ask for it directly. When we offer un-asked for advice, we are saying that we are not concerned with the person's feelings or thoughts about a situation, only the solution.
Examples: 'You should just go in and tell your boss you quit'. 'If your neighbor does that again, you should just call the police.'
Criticizing: This type of communication, more than any other, is an effort to make people feel stupid, inadequate and inferior. This kind of communication influences others to feel safe and insecure around you. People hate to be criticized and generally try to avoid those who criticize them.
Examples: 'You never do anything right'. 'It's your own fault, if you weren't so lazy this would never have happened.'
Name Calling: Name calling has no place in respectful communication. Name calling is an attack on some one's self esteem that results in defensiveness. When someone is defensive they are not listening to you.
Examples: 'You're just a bum, and you're always going to be a bum'. 'I knew you were a slut when I married you and you're still a slut today.'
Questioning and Interrogation: This type of communication is asking for a defense, not a conversation. Questioning and Interrogation is not the same as making a request or asking for clarification. When we question others about their motives and behaviors we are asking them to be defensive. This is a major roadblock in communication. Questioning and Interrogation is disrespectful and has no place in a fair and balanced relationship.
Examples: How much beer did you drink today?' 'Did you wash your hands like I told you?' "Just what are you getting at?'
Because many of us have not been taught or have not seen the best examples of proper communications, we struggle with one, two or more of these roadblocks to communication. The way we speak to others has a great deal to do with the way the message is received. We must try to remember that if we want others to hear us, then we must create a message others will want to listen to. When others feel threatened, they become deaf to us. Others are much more receptive to hearing us talk about our own needs than listening to messages that sound like judgements of them. When we speak to others using 'YOU' statements, for example; 'YOU never pay attention to me'. or 'YOU need to help me care for the kids tonight because YOU haven't helped me in a week and I'm tired.' we automatically put them on the defense. These statements also deny our responsibility for our problems and attempts to put them off on someone else. When we use 'I' statements, we are speaking about ourselves. 'I' messages are personal too, but they are about ourselves and do not sound threatening to others. For example, 'I certainly have felt ignored and neglected lately.' or 'I would like some help with the children tonight. Would you be available to help me?' 'I' messages demonstrate that we are accepting the responsibility for our problems ourselves.
Good communication takes patience and time, but it is extremely effective in resolving conflict and even preventing conflict in relationships with others. And always remember, your children will not only repeat the efforts made in good communication because they too have witnessed their parents/guardians practice it. As parents, we are ALWAYS teaching and leading by example.