Have you ever been talking to someone and you are absolutely convinced that they aren’t hearing a word you are saying? Chances are you are right! Research has shown that the average person listens for 3 seconds before they start thinking about what they want to say next. Researchers Miller, Sherod, and Phyllis developed a powerful communication tool called the Awareness Wheel, which includes a listening cycle. They outline very effective research based skills for listening.
- Attend: How can I tell from nonverbal cues that someone is listening to me? Usually, they are making eye contact, facing my direction, and not doing other tasks at the time they are listening. This is called attending.
- Acknowledge the other’s experience: This includes some validation on the listener’s part. It may sound like, “Wow this sounds really important to you.” or, “That sounds painful. I am sorry that happened to you.” Acknowledging the other’s experience ensures that they can’t just see you are listening, but they feel like you are listening and that you care.
- Summarize: This is vital to make sure that you as a listener truly understand the person trying to share with you. When summarizing, make sure not to interrupt, but find a natural break to summarize. It may sound like this, “What I hear you saying is that you……. Did I get that right?” I assure you that the talker will correct you if you missed something or added any of your own opinions or assumptions in the summary. Summarizing is essential for understanding.
- Invite: If you feel the talker has been brief and you would like to hear more about what they are talking about you can invite for more information. It may sound like this, “Can you say more about that?” or, “Could you expand? I would like to know more.” This step allows you, as the summary step, to understand better. Sometimes, that requires more information.
- Ask: As a listener, if you are genuinely confused about something the talker is trying to share, you politely ask a question. It may sound like this, “Do you mind if I ask a question? Are you referring to the incident that happened yesterday, or the one that happened last week?” This step not only helps you clear any confusion, but allows the talker to know when you aren’t understanding. Beware not to use the question step to jump in as a talker. Allow the talker to fully express themself and be sure you understand, before switching roles.
For other helpful tips like these, schedule an appointment today!More
Does your teen spend hours locked in a video game?
World of Warcraft, Xbox – they really do spend hours just glued to the TV or phone.
Click on the link above to see what Clair Mellenthin, LCSW – Child & Family therapist, has to say about how to get your teen out of virtual reality, and to enjoy actual reality.More
In the musical Fiddler on the Roof, the main character Tevye poses the question: “How do we keep our balance?” He replies to his own question with, “Tradition!” After bursting into song with the entire town he then explains, “Without tradition, we are no safer than a fiddler on the roof!” Tevye was a smart man! He’s right, tradition is important to family development and a sense of personal well-being!
Tradition, however, does not necessarily need to be related to big family celebrations, holidays, or life events. Routine rituals have quite a bit of power in creating “balance” within the family.
Summertime is a great time to begin new family rituals! These may include everyday things that involve roles, chores, rules, and family living.
Why do rituals hold so much weight in family life? Because of the feelings they create! Children who participate in family rituals experience buckets of benefits!
- A sense of belonging
- Increased self-esteem
- Social competence
- Improved health
- Better academic success
- Decreased anxiety
- Understanding of Roles
- Feelings of family identity
- Family cohesion
- Better sleep
- Adolescent well-being
With the school year wrapping up, why not start some new family rituals today?
- Dinnertime: Dinnertime is one of the best ways to form new memories, integrate family values and social rules, add a chore, and create connectedness. Allow each member to have a job in the meal prep. Setting the table, filling the drink glasses, clean up, or choosing a dessert (my personal favorite). This is a time for parents to get tabs on the kid’s day. Play the game: “A Rose and a Thorn” by having each member share one good thing that happened, and one negative thing, opens up opportunities for gratitude, listening and feedback, and validation.
- Child Date Nights: Choose one night a week to do something special with your child. This can be a fun way to get to know what your child enjoys, or would like to try! While filling their bucket with one-on-one time. Fun activities like put-put, painting parlors, splash pads, a trip to the zoo, a bike ride, or a concert. Remember, put the distractions away, pay attention, and let your child take the lead!
- Library Lolligag: Take a stroll through your local library on a regular basis. Plan on spending time reading together, talking about topics, and slowing down. Even big kids have topics and books they enjoy! Try checking out the same book your teen does! You may find you have something in common!
- Game Night: Frequent game nights teach children competence in disappointment, competition, and winning. Some games offer critical thinking, planning ahead, keeping a “good” secret-to win, and seeing what comes next. Playing together teaches appropriate modeling when the game doesn’t go as planned.
- Saying “Goodbye” and “Hello”: Little routines of saying “goodbye” and “hello” opens doorways to connection, disconnection, and re-connection. Think of something that is special to you and your child that is a signature sediment. A hug, a kiss on the forehead, a fist pump (for the tough guys), or even “See you Later Alligator.”
- Coming of Age Celebration: Growing up can be tough! A Coming of Age celebration gives permission for change. Allows an embrace of growth. Perhaps, even some discussion of family values, expectations, and personal precautions. A small trip with Mom and/or Dad, can be defining in developing a life-map, of sorts. Where the focus is not on physical maturation, but life goals. Considering dating, college, careers, and even hopes of marriage and partnerships.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast: A happy morning wake up call to breakfast in bed and watching a favorite kid show, may not be so bad. Perhaps, that’s not your style, but a bowl of a favorite cereal in PJ’s and a morning bike ride, might feel more like it. Or maybe choosing a favorite breakfast spot, where everyone can pick what they like and then get on with weekend commitments.
No matter what summer ritual you decide to pick up–Remember, it’s about dropping the distractions and filling our Summer buckets with memories and connection.
For more insights into creating family cohesion and decreasing family stressors, visit our website at www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com/blog.More
Clair Mellenthin, LCSW & Melanie Davis, CMHC visiting KUTV Fresh Living to discuss the show 13 Reasons Why. Click on link below to see what they had to say!
KUTV.com Web Site Link: http://kutv.com/features/
I love TED talks. I recommend them to my clients to watch between sessions to help them stay in a therapeutic mindset, and I also watch them frequently to stay up on what the great scientists and researchers of our time are doing. Here is an oldie but a goodie that I would recommend to help you understand the subjectivity behind happiness. Hopefully you walk away from this understanding a little more about how you have and are perceiving happiness in your life.