Sometimes we have to get our foot in the door on the matter of developing healthy relationships. The most basic functions for human beings are scary and awkward. Take conversation between people from two different age groups.
One person is seven or eight years old and the other is forty. Maybe both of them live in the same household, but because of age they are worlds apart. In terms of development, this is true. A forty-year-old person experiences life physically much different from someone who is thirty years younger. Kids usually don’t have the same aches and pains.
There is also a significant gap in the context of cultural preferences such as music and other forms of entertainment. And what is a big deal to the youngster in second or third grade is most likely old news to the adult.
Conversation between the two is mostly restricted to happenstance and brief. There’s nothing wrong with this. Normal development includes a gradual shift in priorities and the person’s relative connection to their current age group. To live in the present and take advantage of growth, each child, teen or adult is getting in tune with acquired abilities. Even though children don’t have to pay bills, they do have to learn how to tie shoes and ride bikes. We all have to pay attention to keep up with relevant information.
I will argue there are benefits in crossing the generational line in terms of sustained conversation. One of them is trust. I will explain.
At some point in a child’s life, he is going to face a choice between keeping a secret that is eating him up or disclosing it and getting help from a wise adult. Which action do you think he will pick if there hasn’t been some way to talk on common ground with an adult so far? In general, I see very defensive kids who cross their arms and frown quietly towards the expectation of what might happen with such freedom of speech.
On the other side of this, the adult usually has more faith in the child who demonstrates more of a vocabulary than “whatever” or “yeah”.
Another benefit of being able to hold a discussion with someone of a different generation is the widening of perspectives. Each age group holds a limited view of how the world operates for other people and the ways in which things can be done. Isn’t the knowledge of one hundred different angles to go at a challenge better than only one? Remember the exercise that some of us new parents had to go through for the first baby in the home? You crawl around on your hand and knees to see what the house and possible hazards look like for a child of six or seven months. Adults have grown used to walking around with their eyes seeing everything from an average of five and a half to six feet above the floor.
The physical way we see the world closely matches the context of interacting with others. If I’m six, I will talk mostly of six-year-old related things. I’m not going to talk about how much higher the water bill was this month.
But if I watch a movie with grandpa and I’m encouraged to speak at length about five or six different scenes with him afterwards, then I stand more of a chance understanding how to talk an adult. There’s nothing scary about conversation after all.
Posted in anxiety, assertiveness, behavior, Counseling, family, personal empowerment, relationships, thinking, writing
Tagged Adult, Child development, conversation, family, Home, Parent
English: Emily Chrisman and teacher Joseph Pascetta role play a situation during the Oct. 10, “Tying the Yellow Ribbon” event in Elgin, Ill. This is one of the many ways instructors with the Childrenâ€™s Reintegration Program teach kids how to deal with difficult situations when their parent comes home from deployment. Pascetta is one of eight teachers from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology that help with the childrenâ€™s program. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You have a loss for words when sitting around at a party or some other function. Your memory is fishing for something nice to say to a peer and there is nothing but a blank. To fish anywhere in the world requires the body of water is stocked or naturally populated. Otherwise you are dipping the hook with no results. You might also have to learn how to fish.
In many of the psychotherapy sessions I facilitate, there is an all too common challenge for the client to communicate in a positive and productive way with others. I see whole families who come off with a tendency to talk down to each other and act confused when directed to pay a compliment. Along with this, we usually discover that the family members are sorely lacking of a personal vocabulary for positive-based phrases and words.
To help with building a new track in the memory banks for the positive verbage and productive use of it, I propose an active use of role-play and an immediate goal to meet. The development of skill and a change in memory takes repetition of a particular task, which in this case means saying the words out loud.
In my next post, I will talk about the art of motivation for this task and the different and fun ways to help get it started.
Posted in anxiety, assertiveness, awareness, behavior, Counseling, goal-setting, goals, memory, personal empowerment, productivity, relationships, thinking, unknown territory
Tagged conversation, counseling techniques, help, help with conversation, language, motivation to speak, positive language, positive verbage, Vocabulary
We are encouraged by many to produce inner-motivation towards our goals through the work of self-affirmation. In recent years there has been the prominent referral to “I’m Okay and You’re Okay” kinds of statements. Some of the self-help gurus make “positive inner discovery” a staple of their programs. One thousand percent of this makes sense and is effective.
To say “I can” and then of course finish the statement is a very healthy and even courageous declaration. It beats sitting crouched in a corner with your thumb in mouth, while rocking back and forth. It sure as hell beats standing by and hiding your abilities while someone else takes off with the opportunity. Do you agree?
What we’re missing here is the challenge to saying “I can” or “My strength is..” when much of life has been a focus on what a sibling or cousin or classmate can do better. I will venture to say that the challenge has a lot to do with what communication many of us receive in these different environments. Have you ever been told “Why can’t you be like..?”
In chapter five of “The Strong-Willed Child: Birth Through Adolescence” written by Dr. James Dobson (1978), there is the conclusion arrived at on how comparisons are made between siblings. A child in the family or at school hears spoken messages by his adult leaders which stick in his or her mind. An older brother or sister is praised for winning the trophies. And at every turn, upon misbehavior of the failure to perform up to snuff, the other sibling is told “Why can’t you do..?” And the competition ensues. For this boy or girl, the focus becomes more about what the older sister or brother or classmate has, and less about what is yet to be discovered within.
Posted in anger management, anxiety, assertiveness, awareness, behavior, Counseling, ego, emotions, family, goal-setting, goals, personal empowerment, potential, productivity, relationships, self-affirmation, thinking, unknown territory, writing
Tagged anxiety, challenge, counseling, James Dobson, motivation, personal goals, self help, self-affirmation, self-awareness, self-declaration, Sibling, The Strong-Willed Child: Birth Through Adolescence