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From Lorraine Segal's Conflict Remedy Blog
Although it may sound like something only for unions or businesses, interest based negotiating is a cornerstone of improving communication and resolving conflict in personal relationships, including those between parents and teens.
When we are in relationship conflict, we all generally have our own story about who or what is causing the problem and how to solve it. We may be convinced that our proposal is the only viable solution, but the other person in the disagreement rarely sees the situation that way.
When we get fixated on this one solution, we close off the possibility of other options that could work.
For example, I worked with one mother and young teenaged son who were locked into a negative communication pattern. Every day, when the son came home from school, the mother asked him a series of questions about school and homework.
She wanted the information in order to be a good, proactive parent. But he he bitterly resented her “interrogation” and often angrily refused to answer. She became very frustrated and their interaction escalated, getting worse over time.
With some gentle questions and support , they were able to share their underlying interests with me, but neither one of them could detach from the negative cycle enough to see other options.
I offered them a suggestion: that they put together a checklist to address the mother’s questions. When her son came home, she could hand it to him and he could fill it out. The mother could follow up if needed.
Their faces relaxed, and the son volunteered, unprompted, to create the form on their computer.They were relieved and amazed that they were both able to get what they wanted. The mother could get the needed information without triggering her son, breaking free of the pattern that wasn’t serving them.
If you are reaching an impasse with a teenager, ask:
With some openness, practice, and a lot of careful listening you and your teen can start generating creative solutions that work for everyone.
Lorraine Segal, M.A., has her own Sonoma County conflict & forgiveness coaching, mediation, and training business, Conflict Remedy, based in Santa Rosa, California. She also teaches in Sonoma State University’s Conflict Resolution certificate program and leads communication skills workshops and webinars on forgiveness, co-parenting skills, and communication. She specializes in transforming communication for divorced parents.
She has presented face to face or via teleseminar for ACR, ADRHub, Women’s Global Leadership Institute, local non profits and schools. Her coaching and mediation services are available by telephone as well as face to face. Her blog and more information about her and her services are available at www.ConflictRemedy.com
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