Communication

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Couples Communication

WHAT Did You Just Say? Communication Differences between Men and Women

“He should just know what I want if he loves me,” she exclaims.  “I try to solve her problems, but she gets mad when she’s upset and I give her advice,” he declares.  Both of them think they are right.  And both of them have a right to see it that way.  Both of them would be wise to learn to see it from another point of view.

Individuality notwithstanding, the stereotypes are somewhat borne out by research:  men are generally problem solvers and women generally want intuitive, compassionate responses.  To put it another way, when we approach our partner with a problem, we expect them to react the way our best (same sex) friends do. Or to put it another way: Men “fix” and women “feel.”

“And here’s what you SHOULD do, wife…”

Men most often communicate in order to solve a problem, and they feel a sense of responsibility and love when their partner is upsetWhat he doesn’t realize is that she is not generally asking for advice, unless she comes out and says so.  Instead, she would like to be listened to and valued while she processes her problem verbally.  It tends to go something like this:

She: “I got so mad at my boss today.”

He: “Well, you should just quit that job and look for another.  Here’s the employment listings.”

When he jumps directly to his solution for her life, she feels belittled, as if he feels she is not capable of adult decisions.  She really just wanted him to listen, not solve!  Let’s look at a better way:

She: “I got so mad at my boss today.”

He: “You seem really upset. Tell me more.”

“If you LOVED me you would just KNOW, husband…”

A mistake that women often make when communicating with the opposite sex is called “mind reading,” that is, expecting to just hint, sigh, glare, or otherwise get him to pick up on what she wants.  This conversation might go:

She:  (sarcastically) “That trash really smells, doesn’t it?”

He: “Sure does.”

Of course, she wanted him to take the trash out, not agree with her!  She winds up frustrated and furious that he didn’t bow to the control, hint, guilt and manipulation barely hidden in that remark.  A better way would be:

She: “Would you please take the trash out sometime in the next hour?”

He: “Sure, it’s my turn anyway.”

Women are socialized to be tactful, accommodating, and indirect, but this does not serve them well in the real world.  Instead, women (and indeed, men as well) should be DIRECT, BRIEF, and SPECIFIC when asking for what they need.  This could save a lot of resentment; we all appreciate honest, courteous, and upfront communication. 

So it goes like this: men, you get in a lot of trouble when you offer solutions instead of focused, eye-to-eye, undivided attention and a listening ear when she is sharing her problems with you.  And women, you shut down any hope of getting what you need when you hint, sigh, use sarcasm, or otherwise expect him to read your mind.  Instead, be direct (“the trash”), specific (“within the next hour”) and courteous (“please”).

Communication is a skill that must be learned, but the basic principles listed here can go a long way toward each person getting what they want - a “win-win” for all parties.

From Maesk Group Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Talking to Your Child

How to to Help Your Child Listen and Follow Directions

1.  Get close to them and use their name to get their attention first.  It is not helpful to call from across the room.  For example, go up to your child and say, “Sally, I have something I need you to do.”  

2.  Once you have their attention and eye contact, give them the direction in an age-appropriate manner.  A three-year-old may not be able to do more than one step at a time.  You will likely be able to give your twelve-year-old 3 directions at a time.  For example, “Get dressed, eat breakfast, and go wait for the bus.”  

3.  Give directions with a calm, but serious voice.  Yelling will likely escalate your child, and this will not help them to be cooperative.  But you also want them to know that you are not joking around.

4.  Give directions in a positive manner.  Tell them what TO DO, instead of what NOT to do.  For example, say, “Walk, please,” instead of “Don’t run.”  Also, be descriptive so that they know exactly what you expect.  Instead of saying, “Be good,” which is very vague, say something like, “Put your hands on your lap and sit on your bottom.”  

5.  DO NOT ask a question when giving a direction.  Do NOT say, “Do you want to clean your room?” if this is not something that they can say no to.  Also, do NOT say, “It’s time to do your homework, okay?”  The okay and question at the end implies that it is up to them to decide.  

6. Provide two acceptable choices, such as, “You can eat breakfast or get dressed.  Which would you like to do first?”  You can even start by saying, “You have a choice!”  

7. Empathize with them if your child complains about what you asked them to do.  “I know you are having fun playing and don’t want to stop.”  “I understand that you don’t like cleaning your room.”  

8.  Give them something to look forward to after completing the task.  “As soon as you are finished putting away the dishes, you can go outside and play.”  

9.  Help them if the task is difficult, while still making sure they are doing their part.  “I will help you clean your room.  Would you like to put away your clothes or your toys?”  Then you can put away what they do not choose.         

10.  If nothing is working, tell them about the consequence if they do not complete the task.  Try to make it a natural consequence.  A natural consequence is something that would happen naturally as a result.  It also helps to give them a time frame.  For example, “If you do not get dressed before we leave for school, you will go to school in your pajamas.”  “If you do not put on your coat, you will be cold.”  Or if there is no natural consequence, try to make it related to the task.  “If you do not clean your room before bed time, I will take away those toys that are not cleaned up.”

11.  Enforce the time limit and the consequence.  It is important that your child knows that you mean business when you tell them something.  If you give in or do not follow through, they will learn that they can test you because they do not always have to do what you tell them.

12.  Children behave best when they are feeling loved.  Make sure that you spend plenty of positive, fun time with them. 

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Couples Communication

Communication Differences between Men and Women

“He should just know what I want if he loves me,” she exclaims.  “I try to solve her problems, but she gets mad when she’s upset and I give her advice,” he declares.  Both of them think they are right.  And both of them have a right to see it that way.  Both of them would be wise to learn to see it from another point of view.

Individuality notwithstanding, the stereotypes are somewhat borne out by research:  men are generally problem solvers and women generally want intuitive, compassionate responses.  To put it another way, when we approach our partner with a problem, we expect them to react the way our best (same sex) friends do. Or to put it another way: Men “fix” and women “feel.”

"And here's what you SHOULD do, wife..."

Men most often communicate in order to solve a problem, and they feel a sense of responsibility and love when their partner is upsetWhat he doesn’t realize is that she is not generally asking for advice, unless she comes out and says so.  Instead, she would like to be listened to and valued while she processes her problem verbally.  It tends to go something like this:

She: “I got so mad at my boss today.”

He: “Well, you should just quit that job and look for another.  Here’s the employment listings.”

When he jumps directly to his solution for her life, she feels belittled, as if he feels she is not capable of adult decisions.  She really just wanted him to listen, not solve!  Let’s look at a better way:

She: “I got so mad at my boss today.”

He: “You seem really upset. Tell me more.”

“If you LOVED me you would just KNOW, husband…”

A mistake that women often make when communicating with the opposite sex is called “mind reading,” that is, expecting to just hint, sigh, glare, or otherwise get him to pick up on what she wants.  This conversation might go:

She:  (sarcastically) “That trash really smells, doesn’t it?”

He: “Sure does.”

Of course, she wanted him to take the trash out, not agree with her!  She winds up frustrated and furious that he didn’t bow to the control, hint, guilt and manipulation barely hidden in that remark.  A better way would be:

She: “Would you please take the trash out sometime in the next hour?”

He: “Sure, it’s my turn anyway.”

Women are socialized to be tactful, accommodating, and indirect, but this does not serve them well in the real world.  Instead, women (and indeed, men as well) should be DIRECT, BRIEF, and SPECIFIC when asking for what they need.  This could save a lot of resentment; we all appreciate honest, courteous, and upfront communication. 

So it goes like this: men, you get in a lot of trouble when you offer solutions instead of focused, eye-to-eye, undivided attention and a listening ear when she is sharing her problems with you.  And women, you shut down any hope of getting what you need when you hint, sigh, use sarcasm, or otherwise expect him to read your mind.  Instead, be direct (“the trash”), specific (“within the next hour”) and courteous (“please”).

Communication is a skill that must be learned, but the basic principles listed here can go a long way toward each person getting what they want - a “win-win” for all parties.

From Maesk Group Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Counseling for children and teens

Child counseling can be extremely successful if you support your child throughout the counseling process. Family counseling also works wonders if everyone bands together and supports each other through the changes that are being made. Follow these tips to support your child and family in therapy:

1. Be there to listen and offer caring support, without judgment, to your child during the time in child therapy

2. Meet with the child’s counselor to make sure personalities are a match for you and your child.

3. Be open and talk frequently with your child. Make sure discussions are age appropriate; early school aged children need brief, simple discussions or explanations, upper elementary age children may ask more detailed questions and may need help figuring out reality from fiction.

4. Don’t pressure the child to talk to you about what happened in the child counseling session, your child may tell you in his/her own time in his/her own way.

5. Keep the lines of communication open with the child’s counselor and the child. Showing your child that you trust the child’s counselor helps build trust.

6. Try not to rush change. Remember trust is built over time; it’s not any different in child and family counseling. Allow time for your child to learn to trust his/her counselor. If you become intimidated by the child-counselor relationship, bring it up to the counselor (there’s nothing to be embarrassed about).

7. Patience is extremely important throughout the child and family counseling process. Children often don’t know how to express their emotions and fears like an adult would, therefore may have some temporary behavior changes throughout the process.

8. Be a good role model, show the child you are willing to take care of yourself and if you need counseling, seek it.

9. Make time to discuss your child’s worries, fears, and even accomplishments. Be sure to turn off any distractions (phones, TV, video games, etc.) so your child knows how important the time with your child is to you.

10. Most importantly, enjoy favorite activities with your child alone and with the entire family.

 

If you have any questions, throughout the process, speak up. Maesk Group Counseling is here to help!