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  • Writer's pictureAlpana Shitolé

From Disagreements to Dialogues: Guiding Teens to Communicate Completely

As parents, preparing our children for successful interpersonal relationships is a crucial task. One of the foundational elements of strong relationships is the ability to communicate effectively, especially during disagreements. Here, we introduce the concept of 'communicating completely', a technical aspect of communication that encourages clear and effective expression of viewpoints, primarily during conflicts.

Why Complete Communication Matters

It is a common occurrence to be enveloped by a myriad of things that we could have articulated better after a disagreement. Through the practice of 'communicating completely', one navigates through these situations with more clarity and assertiveness. It enables you to voice your concerns, opinions, and questions without hesitation, ensuring a well-rounded conversation, particularly during disagreements. Let's delve deeper to understand why, what, and how to master this art.

The Essentials of Complete Communication

To help our children navigate disagreements, we must guide them through the three pillars of complete communication:

  1. Identifying and Communicating the Trigger: This involves pinpointing the root cause of a disagreement, allowing for a clear foundation for discussion.

  2. Sharing the Impact: Communicate how the issue at hand is personally affecting you allowing the other person to empathize.

  3. Asking Clarifying Questions: Before jumping to conclusions, ask the other person their reason for taking the action that triggered you, possibly uncovering misunderstandings and fostering open dialogue.

Implementing the Technique: A Practical Example

Let's illustrate these steps with a practical scenario. Let's say your child is a part of a group project at school. One of the team members, let's call him Sam, isn't contributing as much as everybody else. This is stressing out the rest of the team members. Here's how your child might navigate the situation using complete communication:

  1. Communicating the Trigger: Your child identifies that the trigger behind the stress is the lack of contribution from Sam.

  2. Communicating the Impact: Your child expresses to Sam's how their lack of contribution is making the project more challenging and emphasizes the fairness of equal participation, considering that groups' grade is dependent on the project outcome.

  3. Asking Clarifying Questions: Instead of assuming Sam's motives, your child asks Sam if there is a specific reason behind his lack of input, potentially uncovering underlying issues. As unintuitive as this step may seem, here is a real world example of how a student in our class could relate to Sam. Our student admitted that he didn't contribute to a project, not out of laziness, but because he felt his ideas didn't match with the others. He chose not to share to avoid holding back the project's progress.

Closing Thoughts

By encouraging our children to communicate completely, we foster a generation of thinkers who are not just articulate but also empathic and understanding. Through this nuanced approach, we encourage our children not just to speak, but to converse - fostering connections built on understanding and respect. By inculcating these values at a young age, we can pave the way for them to form successful relationships throughout their lives.

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