Posts Tagged ‘Communication’

When you’re in a relationship with someone, you are bound to get upset with that person at least occasionally. Sometimes, not wanting to offend them, you let the issue go. But other times, you may really want to say something – either because you are so hurt or angry, or because there is a recurring problem that you need to address. It’s important to speak up – but how you do so can mean the difference between solving the problem and making it worse.


Read more: http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2016/04/need-to-bring-up-a-problem-heres-how.html?ecd=wnl_sxr_041616&ctr=wnl-sxr-041616_nsl-promo-2_title&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d


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Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. Matthew 18:5 (NKJV)

Brian Dollar[i] describes the last two principles that should guide our attitudes and our words as we talk with our children.

  1. Prepare your response. Older kids sometimes test their parents by saying things intended to shock you; don’t take their bait. Instead, keep a straight face, acknowledge that you heard the comment, and say something like, “Interesting. What do you think about it?”

Think ahead of time, “How are we going to respond – or react – when our kids tell us something designed to elicit outrage or shock?”  You can either role-play with your spouse, or maybe even look in the mirror to see the expression on your face when your spouse plays the role of your child and says something shocking.

Dollar explains, “In tense moments in relationships, people often make one of two mistakes: They ‘get big’ or they ‘get little.’ They get big by talking loudly, leaning forward, glaring and making demands. Or they get little by slumping in the chair, looking down, mumbling inaudibly and giving in to any perceived threat. This response doesn’t happen just once; it becomes the pattern of every significant and difficult interaction.”  If you are aware of your normal responses to difficult conversations, you’ll be able to make choices before, during and after their conversations with your kids.

  1. Know your child. Your child’s gender, personality, experiences and age all play vital roles in how he/she process the ups and downs of life. We need to notice what makes each of our children tick and then tailor our communication to fit that child in that situation.  We tend to know our children better when they are small, but this becomes a more challenging task when they become teenagers, or even young adults.  When we become a little more vulnerable we give them permission to be a little more honest and open. As conversations progress and become a normal part of your relationship with your kids, they’ll realize you aren’t out to control them; you respect them, and you want God’s best for them.

Father God, Help me to listen to what my children tell me, even if they intend to shock me and to respond in a helpful, loving way.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/How-to-Lead-Your-Kids-Through-Life-s-Tough-Topics/

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Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! 1 Chronicles 16:9 (NKJV)

Brian Dollar[i] continues describing more principles that guide our attitudes and our words as we talk with our children.

  1. If your child won’t talk, be gracious and patient, but don’t give up. Sometimes, especially after a traumatic event such as the death of someone close to them, your child may withdraw and try to process things internally. Don’t press them too hard, but don’t withdraw too far either.  Remember that often nonverbal communication is the gateway to the heart, so give them a hug, go for a drive to a favorite spot, or just spend time together some other way without talking about the topic.

When the time is right – and you will know when that is — gently ask an open-ended question and wait for an answer.  If your child begins to talk, again, don’t press him/her too hard too soon. Be gracious, patient, and kind.

  1. Be willing to apologize. All parents make mistakes at one time or another, but not all parents are willing to admit it, much less to apologize. As Dollar says, “Some of the most wonderful words children of all ages can hear from parents are, ‘I was wrong. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I won’t do it again.’ Apologies are necessary for individual offenses, but parents also need to address prolonged, harmful patterns of communication – demanding too much, blaming, withdrawing, smothering and so on.”
  2. Be attentive to body language, both yours and theirs. Body language accounts for 50 to 70 percent of communication. Such things as facial expressions, eye contact, and other nonverbal cues powerfully shape the messages we send and receive.  A smile or frown, crossed or relaxed arms, etc., may reinforce what we’re saying or it may completely contradict our words.   At the same time, you need to be a good student of your children’s body language as it often tells you more than their words can ever say.

Father God, Help me to be very attentive to how I say things and not just what I say, At the same time, help me to be a better listener of what my children say, and how they say it.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/How-to-Lead-Your-Kids-Through-Life-s-Tough-Topics/

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“Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the LORD is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed. 1 Samuel 2:3 (NKJV)

Brian Dollar[i] identifies and describes more principles that guide our attitudes and our words as we talk with our children.

  1. Don’t talk down to them. One of the most important principles about talking with kids is to avoid being condescending. Talking down to your children assumes that they are inferior and you are their superior.  The truth is that children pick up on this perspective, and they deeply resent it.
  2. Learn to ask great questions and to listen more than you talk. Not all questions are equal! As Dollar states, “Some questions are conversation stoppers, but others are fertilizer for rich interaction. Good questions, spoken with respect and openness, open dialogue with your children so they can tell you what they perceive about a particular event, person or topic.”  For example, you may ask, “Why do you think that happened?”  “What are some positive things that might result from that choice?” “What might be some unforeseen consequences of that decision?”  “How do you think God feels about that?”  The best statement to draw out a person isn’t a question at all. It is rather, “Tell me more about that.”
  3. There are no dumb questions. Kids can be creative and spontaneous while teenagers like to test their parents. As a result, it is not unusual for them to ask off-the-wall questions — either because they just don’t understand the issues, or perhaps to push back to see if their parents really respect them.   You must realize that there are no dumb questions.  As Dollar says, “Every question should be treated with the same weight of importance and value. It may be harder to treat innocuous or defiant questions with respect, but those need it even more.”

Remember that children “will ask questions in regard to things they see and hear, and parents should improve the opportunity to instruct and patiently answer those little inquiries.”[ii]

Father God, help me to be a better listener to my children and to give them the respect they deserve and need.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/How-to-Lead-Your-Kids-Through-Life-s-Tough-Topics/

[ii] White, E.G.  Child Guidance. p. 300

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You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:7 (NKJV)

Our goal as parents is not to rush in and have one “fix-it-all” conversation when our children ask us difficult or challenging questions. Rather, our goal as parents is to create a warm, open environment where any topic can be discussed and healthy conversation is part of the fabric of family communication.  The purpose is not to “solve their problem” but open channels so that our children feel valued, understood, and inspired.

Brian Dollar[i] identifies and describes some principles that guide our attitudes and our words.

  1. Connections take time. Because many parents feel uncomfortable with certain topics, they conclude that one conversation is enough. The truth is that one conversation is never enough. When a subject is so threatening that it makes us uncomfortable to talk about it, we need to talk about it more, not less. When a tragedy occurs, emotions tend to run high and threats to everyone’s peace and comfort multiply.  That’s why wise parents bring these issues up before there’s a crisis.  Maintain a good track record of good discussions which allow for open interaction and mutual respect.
  2. All of us are learning. Some parents feel that they have to be “the experts” when talking to their children about important matters. When children are young, their parent’s role is to lead them and teach them; of teacher is unavoidable, but as they grow up, we need to communicate the reality that we’re all in the process of learning and growing. When kids, particularly teenagers, sense their parents are still open to new perspectives and ideas, they’ll be far more willing to enter into meaningful dialogue.

These words are worth considering: “Talk to your children as if you had confidence in their intelligence. Deal with them kindly, tenderly, lovingly. Tell them what God would have them do…When you act your part, you can trust the Lord to act His part.”[ii]

Father God, help me to have a good, open communication with my children so we can converse about any and all topics.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/How-to-Lead-Your-Kids-Through-Life-s-Tough-Topics/

[ii] White, E. G.  Child Guidance, p. 33

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Traffic-light communication

Surely God will not listen to empty talk, Nor will the Almighty regard it. Job 35:13 (NKJV)

The hard reality is that none of us are as interesting as we think we are.  Of course, we all have stories to share with friends, family and colleagues, but we’re probably going on way too long in telling them. Marty Nemko,[i] a career coach, suggests we use the “Traffic light rule” to ensure that you are truly heard in any conversation.

Nemko suggests that you have approximately one minute to get your point across before turning the conversation over to the person with whom you are speaking.  Think about how you share information or a story as you would if you were coming to a traffic light.  As he explains, “During the first 30 seconds of an utterance, your light is green: your listener is probably paying attention. During the second 30 seconds, your light is yellow — your listener may be starting to wish you’d finish. After the one-minute mark, your light is red: Yes, there are rare times you should ‘run a red light:’ when your listener is obviously fully engaged in your missive.”

Harvard Business Review writer and “Just Listen” author Mark Goulston says that we get regular shots of dopamine, the pleasure hormone, when we talk about ourselves.  The effect is so strong that we become addicted.  But to those who are listening to us, we are not necessarily that interesting, particularly if we go on for a long time.  That’s why it’s important, while you’re wrapped up in your own story,  to take a moment to pay attention to your audience. If they’re fidgeting or interrupting or trying to walk away, they may be trying to let you know that they have heard enough.

While referring to those that talk more than what they work, Ellen White wrote, “Let the talkative man remember that there are times when he has no right to talk. There are those who take time to stand still…Close your lips. Make not others idle by tempting them to listen to your talk. The time of many is lost when a man uses his tongue instead of his tools.”[ii]

Father God, help me to train myself to be a better listener, to talk less and listen more, to guard my lips and limit to what I say, especially about myself, and listen to others more.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/use-1-minute-traffic-light-rule-improve-your-conversations-t37966?cid=eml_tes_20150811

[ii] White, E. G., Manuscript 42, 1901.  {Ev 653.4}

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And Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. Luke 20:34 (NKJV)

Skye Cleary,[i] writes ten questions that German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche would have you consider before you get married:

  1. Can you hold decent conversations? Marry someone intellectually interesting to you. “Everything else in marriage is transitory, but most of the time you are together will be devoted to conversation.” Human, All Too Human

In The Adventist Home we find these words:  “There are persons who have for some time made a profession of religion who are, to all intents and purposes, without God and without a sensitive conscience. They are vain and trifling; their conversation is of a low order. Courtship and marriage occupy the mind, to the exclusion of higher and nobler thoughts.”[ii]

  1. Are you sexually attracted to each other? Imagine what each other will look like in twenty years. “Sometimes it requires only a stronger pair of spectacles to cure the lover, and he who had the imagination to picture a face, a figure twenty years older would perhaps pass through life very undisturbed.” Human, All Too Human

Sexual or outward attraction should not be a determining factor in choosing a future mate.  “Children and youth who devote time and means to make themselves objects of attraction by outward display and affected manners are not working in the right direction. They need to cultivate true, Christian politeness and nobility of soul. . . . The beauty of mind, the purity of the soul, revealed in the countenance, will have more power to attract and exert an influence upon hearts than any outward adorning.”[iii]

For a relationship to develop there must be some attraction, what many today might refer to as “chemistry.”  If you are not attracted physically to the other person, there may come a time where they will find someone else attractive and distract them and pursue them.

Father God, help me to keep these two areas in mind as I consider who I may have a relationship with.  If I ignore these two areas, I could be setting the stage for future discontent.

[i] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/skye-cleary/10-essential-questions-to_b_7699300.html

[ii] White, E.G. The Adventist Home, p. 51

[iii] White, E.G., My Life Today, p. 123

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