[Day 5] Learning to Communicate Part II
When our children have problems or encounter difficulties, we need to listen actively, but we also need to learn to speak. As Proverbs 25:11-12 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.” This also requires us to stop first to pray, to have fellowship with God first, to be connected to God first, to be one with God first, and then to speak according to the Spirit in order to speak appropriately for the benefit of people.
One of the reasons why problems accumulate is because people are not good at expressing themselves, and they don’t like to express themselves, especially those of a Chinese background. Even for small things, if you don’t talk about them, the problems get bigger and bigger, and the gap and distance between people get larger and longer. Therefore, we all need to learn how to properly speak out our problems without running away from them. We all need to learn to tell the offending party what we are offended by, openly and appropriately, without making each other guess.
We really need to learn to communicate, the same goes for parents and children, to speak the truth in love. Why do some parents fail to communicate with their children about many things after they grow up? It is because they do not communicate well when they are children, and they do not tell each other what is in their hearts in an open and appropriate way. The parents do not understand their children and the children do not understand their parents. Therefore, it is important to share problems openly and appropriately. At the same time, we also need to learn that a person’s problems should be communicated directly to the person concerned and not complained about to others.
This is not innate, but is learned later. (A) When parents cannot accept a child’s behavior, use the “I” message to let the child know how the parents feel. (B) The elements that constitute the “I” message are: child’s behavior + parents’ feelings + impact on parents. This means that when the parents cannot accept the child’s behavior, use the “I” message to let the child know that his or her negligent or inappropriate behavior is unacceptable, state how they feel about it, and finally share how it actually and specifically affects the parents. Both parents and children should learn to listen and to speak.
A win-win resolution to conflicts: devise a plan that simultaneously satisfies the parents and the needs of the child. When parents have some conflicts with their children, they should pray, use listening and “I” message to communicate and resolve it. If they can’t resolve it, they should negotiate together, solve the problem together, and seek a win-win solution together that meets both the parents’ needs and the child’s needs. This is very important.
If a child persists in behaving badly, you and the child need to agree on a time to have a good talk and solve the problem together. Parents and children need to touch on real issues together and participate together to develop the child’s thinking ability. Together they exercise their mentality to discuss the possibility of resolving the problem, to come up with a plan together to resolve the problem, and to carry it out. In other words, the feasible solution to the problem is not something that the parents come up with unilaterally, but something that the children participate in, discuss, think about, negotiate, and seek together. This is brainstorming, which is very helpful in developing children’s problem solving and thinking abilities. Of course, it is important to bring the problem together with prayer at the end.
The steps to solve problems and conflicts are:
a. Identify and define conflicts.
b. Find various possible alternative solutions.
c. Evaluate alternative solutions.
d. Determine the most appropriate solution.
e. Implement the solution.
f. Follow-up and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution.
First, determine what the conflict is. Second, everyone sits down to find the solutions to the problem through fellowship and recording solutions. Third, one by one, evaluate the solutions proposed by everyone, discover whether all can agree. Fourth, find a solution that all parties feel is appropriate. Fifth, after the solution is determined, actually implement it. Sixth, after a period of implementation, track to see how the solution works, and whether the conflict or problem is resolved. Of course, during this whole process, it must be brought into prayer. Everything we do must lead the children to God. This is very important.