I had an amazing experience last week that I want to share. Sorry for the Twitter teases about the relationship workshop that David and I attended. I had to process everything and put it into practice before sharing.
We went to learn how to strengthen our love, communicate better and find the tools to help up us maneuver through the life challenges that every couple goes through. It was eye opening, deep work and it was really really effective.
Harville Hendrix, PhD. author of one of the best relationship books wrote “Getting the Love You Want” with his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt, and developed a technique that is available for everyone wanting a fulfilling, successful love.
I am going to try not to sound psychologically corny, but I have to share some of the valuable life lessons that were taught. Trust me I am no expert, but my relationship means enough to me to always work on it. David and I spent 16 hours in a crappy room with 2 PhDs who taught us Harville’s technique. Their life experience and medical knowledge helped us get to the bottom of some issues we have, and most importantly, taught us how to deal with them. I do not believe that learning better communication skills will help you stay out of trouble, but they are essential to get you out of it and better understand what you want and need.
What really surprised me is how effective using the right words can be. What I learned was how using the right words can affect the person on the receiving end so differently.
I can only scratch the surface on a few tips that I learned and how I will apply them to my life. It has already made made feel closer to my loved ones and made quite a difference.
I tried a few things out on my children. What an incredible response I have received. It’s so easy as parents to stay on top of our children, to discipline them, and to criticize the things they do wrong in hopes for correction. I want better behavior, better manners, a better attitude, a tidier room, a more respectful tone, etc. What I did not realize is how turned off my kids can get. I know they do not have the same communicative abilities that I do and mental abilities to process things. It often becomes such a frustrating situation that doesn’t go anywhere. In fact, I find myself repeating and screaming the same complaints every day. That was my Aha moment!!!! I need to stop complaining and start requesting.
Here is what I’ve started to do when I see my child doing something unacceptable:
I say: "I would really like for you to do XYZ” and then I give them an example. Instead of my usual “Stop fighting with your sister, you are being so mean and cruel!!!” I now say in a respectful voice, “I would like for you to be kinder to your sister.” Instead of yelling at my daughter about what a mess her room is and how she always screws up her closet that I spent hours organizing, I say “I would really like it if you would leave your room the way you found it.”
It becomes positive and personal, and takes away the accusatory tone that always delivers a jab back at me. This is basic parenting 101 stuff, but it’s working!I think our children really do want to please us, we just need to ask for what we want and need from them in a way that they can respond appropriately too.
“I, your mother would like for you to…" Instead of: “You need to XYZ and STOP bla bla blaing!" That is an automatic turn off and if someone said that to me, I would definitely react negatively. But if I were approached in a loving manner, I would be much more open to change.
By the way, this works on your partner too. Finding the right words, staying positive, expressing what you want and feel is a much better than attacking and insulting.
Try asking for what you want in a loving way and requesting behavior changes instead of bitching and demanding. Coming from the heart and sharing your personal desires is so important.
That’s my two cents. It’s pretty basic, but it’s working for me.