Build Social Emotional Skills Over the Holiday

The holidays are a very social time. This can be a good thing; and a not so good thing. Plan now to teach your child these social emotional skills exercises during the holidays.

Common Holiday Social Skills Dilemmas

Social Emotional Learning
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Are you trying to avoid last year’s social challenges? Do you wish your teenager would chat easily with your uncle and not ignore everyone to text friends? Did your daughter’s clothing and comments raise eyebrows? Do you fear your son’s look of irritation or his sharp tone will make you cringe again? Were you told your kids played too rough with the cousins?

Plan for Now to Build Social Emotional Skills

The holidays are a perfect time to practice your child social emotional skills. Use this time to work on one specific mission. Probably what causes your child the most angst is also an area of concern for you. Talk openly about this with your child. Jointly decide on one social emotional skill that will build communication and relationship skills to last a lifetime.

social emotional learningWhere ever you go (or don’t go as the case may be) – you will interact with people. Use every opportunity at the mall, holiday parties virtually with friends and family, to standing in line at the grocery store – use the daily life of a parent managing the holiday grind to your advantage.

Are you ready to coach?

This year can be different. Not only are we in unprecedented times, but our social gatherings are more likely to be online than in person. That is OK. It is what it is this year – so let’s make the best of it.

This whole journey starts with you coaching your child. Some kids make friends easily and know how to navigate any social event. Other kids do not. As a parent you are the perfect person to work with your child. You know his struggles. You are her original teacher and are with her day in and day out.

5 Social Skills Exercises to Build Self-Awareness

  1. Help Your Child Become a social spy – Self-awareness is one of the core concepts in CASEL’s Social Emotional Learning framework. In this exercise, you will rehearse in advance what specific social information searching for. It is important for her to understand that she is to listen unobtrusively, to watch other people in a subtle, covert way without looking like she is listening. Have her report back on non-physical traits such as energy, behavior and mood. For physical traits, how about identifying how her peers are wearing their clothing and hair. What do they talk about at lunch? This information can then be used to assess her own traits in order to build self-awareness skills. Read more about Self-Awareness.
  2. Reading the Mood – This can work particularly well with online chats. In advance, identify which family members to observe in order to work on social emotional skills. How does their body language and intonation reflect what they are saying? What do they do to demonstrate their mood? Are they more positive than others? How do thy make you feel. Compare notes later and discuss how each of you would fare in this observation?
  3. Become a better Noticer – In advance of the call, have your child take mental note of grandma’s earrings, hair and clothing. Is there something new or something you like? What did you say that made her particularly happy? Discuss how he can build his communication skills by using this data when engaging in conversation.
  4. Teach your child to engage in a “polite pretend”- The ability to fake interest or happiness and to be polite even when your child is hungry, tired or bored is what I call a polite pretend. Begin by asking him some open-ended questions, what do you think your friend felt about your behavior? How do other people feel about how you treated them? What behavior does the situation call for? This will help your child think about his actions and why performing a polite pretend may be necessary rather than hurting other people’s feelings.
  5. Build a Conversationtaking a conversation from “hi” to a full-fledged conversation is hard for some children and teens but it is a life skill. Model how you use the data you both identified to engage someone. You can comment on her jewelry or clothing to start. Encourage your child to agree with you by nodding if talking is too difficult. The goal is to begin talking to people she doesn’t know well by noting how she talks to people she does know well

 Self-Awareness is at the Root of Belonging

Make a game of this exercise. It can be your own “little secret” and will not only help your child develop critical social skills, but also build your connection.

Deeper Dive:

Self-Management Skills Required this Holiday

5 Ways to Use Social Emotional Learning to Bring Back Joy

Do you worry about your child?

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You are not alone. The pandemic has hit all of us hard in so many ways: financially, medically, academically, and socially. Social emotional concerns are at an all-time high. Parents share their struggles and concerns with me. My heart breaks for these kids – and this includes my own two children.

“Where is the fun?!” “How can this still be going on?” “Why can’t someone fix it?”

Add to the pandemic the chaos of an armed insurrection that occurred at the US Capitol. We, parents, are confused and feel helpless. Wouldn’t you gladly “fix” this if at all humanly possible?

I am here to tell you that there are things you can do as a parent to create joy and help your child or teen stay socially and emotionally centered.

5 Ways to Use Social Emotional Learning to Bring Back Joy and Civility 

  1. Walk in Their Shoes – Your child or teen needs you more than ever – even if she doesn’t show it. The world has become big and unrecognizable, and without the life experience you have, it can be scary. Social emotional concerns are at an all time high. You have no idea where we are headed either, but your steady presence can help keep his social emotional boat from tipping. Take a moment to put yourself in his shoes. It really is a tough time. Whatever means you use – meditation, deep breathing, exercise, hiding in a bathroom – try to get your emotions in check. This balance will enable you to manager your own emotions and allow you to truly empathize with your child or teen.
  2. Choose an Activity for Each Day – What activities can he do each day of the month? Rather than saying, “Hey, why don’t you create those videos you have always wanted to make,” say, “Why don’t we sit down and draft some quirky topics you can make videos of?” If a new topic is thought of every day, this will help your child stay focused and interested when they are feeling down. If you son loves tennis, maybe he (gently) hits a ball against the wall one day. The next day, he can do so with his backhand. Craft stores are a great way to bring out the creative right brain in all kids. The point here is to build on strengths, develop new interests, and strengthen relationships.
  3. Monitor and Adapt Tone and Banter – Everyone is at their worse when tired, sad, angry and lonely. Remembering this will help when one family member acts out. Come up with a word or phrase that everyone recognizes as the “code” for returning to civility. The whole family should try to be more considerate. Be sure to share with your children what respectful looks like and admit it when you struggle. In a non-shaming way, say the “code” when tempers flare, tone becomes disrespectful and actions are rude. Eventually, you will catch it before you will need to be told.
  4. Tap into Interests and Strengths – It can be easy to get caught in a stage of moping, but this is not a good place to rest. Together, when both of you are in a loving and receptive mood, brainstorms ways to tap into both of your strengths and interests. You both may have more time on your hands than ever before, so make a pact not to squander it. Be each other’s mentors and remind each other what you each like and where you can find joy. Maybe you both will actually come out of the pandemic with a new or renewed passion.
  5. Stay Centered – I know you miss your friends and former activities too. You don’t have to put on a “brave face” and insist all is OK in the world. As parents we are our children’s social and emotional coping models. It is OK, to share your disappointment, you are human too. Together you can come up with ways that will raise every member of the family’s spirits.  Think of it this way – 2021 is “The Year” to break old, stodgy rules.

The pandemic is tough – on every member of the family. Sharing together ways to overcome the struggle will nurture bonds that will hopefully bring up nice memories down the road on how you all pulled through in one of the worse periods in history.

Deeper Dive:

Encourage Social Skills Development

The Silver Lining: Empathy and Kindness

5 Ways Kids & Teens Can Take Back Joy During COVID-19 (& You Too!)

Empathy is Compassion

What is Empathy?

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Self awareness and empathy are not just “nice to have,” they impact people’s ability to be successful in life. Research has shown that people who cannot imagine another person’s inner emotional life, who cannot manage their emotions and who cannot read the room, struggle in the workplace and are less successful than people who have critical social emotional skills.

Empathy is showing compassion, understanding another person’s experience. It is walking in someone else’s shoes.  The chances of bullying or ignoring another’s pain lessens remarkably in highly empathetic people.  The ability to show empathy is a life skill. Reading the Room is a skill everyone can, and should, build. Identifying the physical and non-physical energy of a room helps you build friends.  You are expected to express sorrow when someone is in distress.

Understanding Other People’s Emotions can be Taught

The child or adult who lacks empathy can be seen as uninteresting, selfish, boring and self-absorbed. Parents and teachers can teach empathy. This training can actually save this child from years of pain and isolation. Remember Empathy is Compassion, and who doesn’t need more of that?

How to Teach Empathy

Teaching empathy must involve the community and the individual. A community that respects each other will foster empathy. Greater understanding of empathy comes about by working with the individual. What does empathetic behavior look like? Modeling reinforces empathy, as actions and messages help others learn to  “walk in someone else’s shoes.”

3 Situations to Teach Empathy

•  The emotional experience of others – Draw attention to the emotional experience of others as the act is occuring. Quietly observe without staring, and later have conversation about this episode. How could that person have felt? What was that experience like for you to witness? What could be going on in their lives? What did you notice about her reaction to the situation? How do you think you would have reacted in his shoes?

Lack of Empathy in Individual – When an unpleasant behavior or action occurs, collaboratively talk about it. Rudeness or lack of empathy should be signals that this person is not interpreting how his behavior affects others. Ask, How do you think I feel when you correct me? Is that what you intended?

Others’ Point of View – Preaching rarely works. Instead of insisting, try to explore the state of mind of the person you wish she would reach out to. How does Grandma feel when you don’t visit? Do you think he would have liked to be invited to lunch? Step into the shoes of others to help him reflect on other people’s state of mind. What do other people feel? What is the reaction to their behavior? What did the other people’s facial expressions tell them about their feelings?

Empathy is a social emotional learning skill that needs to be taught. It is as important to a person’s development as academics. Teachers and parents have many resources, including those in Why Will No One Play With Me? to practice at home. This is particularly relevant during COVID.

Deeper Dive:

December 3, 2020 – Social Emotional Training for Teachers and Adults with Caroline Maguire and Scarlett Lewis

3 Tips to Building Empathy During a Social Crisis

Why Teaching Your child Empathy Builds Their Social Skills – Psychology Today

 

Self-Management Skills Required this Holiday

Like our nation, many of our families are divided.

Self-Management Skills Required this HolidayThis election was a BIGGIE! Whichever side you are on, chances are self-management skills will be required this Holiday season!

What is meant to be a time of joy, kindness, generosity and togetherness can be tinged with dread. We dread the division of our families and our country. We dread witnessing the jabs between our favorite aunt, who is waving a Trump flag, and our favorite cousin, who has spent his life in social service and is vehemently against Trump.

Like our nation, many of our families are divided

And like the country, our families are not always communicating with each other in the way that we would hope.

We love BOTH our aunt and our cousin.  Our children, sitting at the small folding table next to the adult table, are watching us. We are their models. Self-management skills will be required this Holiday season and they can do better if we do better. Moreover, children have a way of loving everyone for who they are – even in a big burly sweater.

Self-Management Skills are Required this Holiday Season

What if we could be proud of our self-management?  What if we step into someone else’s shoes and try to remember who these people are and what they have meant to us? What if we pause before we speak?

Self-management requires self-regulation, self-reflection, perspective taking and/or stepping into someone else’s shoes. Use our understanding of the other person’s past and intentions, we can project their possible reactions.  Our self-awareness will help us react in measured and respectable ways.

We need strategies on how to  offer – and accept – compassion, kindness and perspective.

5 Strategies for Improved Self-Management Skills This Holiday Season:

1.Remember Intention– Assume and remember the best intentions of those around you. What has each one done for you? This is especially important for the relatives on the other side of the aisle.  For those relatives with whom you don’t share the same views, make an extra effort to listen to them. Validate their feelings and emotions.  You can say, “Interesting. I can see why you would feel that way.”  As you express your opinions,  remember to focus on the kindness, compassion and respect your relative has shown you for years, her acts of love and affection.  What you say can damage your relationship.

Self-Management Skills Required this Holiday2.Walk in their Shoes  What could be going on in the his life? Has this year been particularly tough financially? Could COVID have hit her family harder than yours?  Don’t assume motives. Ask Open Ended questions and truly listen to the response without judgement.

3.Build a Bridge to Understanding –If your intention is to speak to your family with respect, ditch the one-liners, zingers and sarcasm. Breathe deeply, pause and respond in a way that convey respect. Keep your tone neutral and avoid words like “always” and “never”.

4.Listen- Listening isn’t just not talking. It involves eye contact, and connection. Keep facial expressions and body language relaxed and friendly. Don’t interrupt or “one-up” either.

5.Manage Emotions Rather Than Having Them Manage You– Now, before the holidays arrive, make a mental or written note of the symptoms your body expresses when it becomes agitated. Come up with ways to lessen these reactions so you don’t overheat and blow your top or say something you wish you didn’t. Use mindfulness to manage your emotions by recognizing the signs and breathing consciously to slow your mind and thoughts.

6.Don’t climb onto the soapbox – It is highly unlikely that you will influence or change anyone’s deep-seated beliefs over pumpkin pie. Keep away from the lectures and ask for another slice of pie instead.

7.Find the similarities– Humans share lots in common as a species. Emphasize commonality and stay away from shaming or declarations of incompatibility.

This holiday season, instead of banning certain topics, institute rules of respect. Insist on giving each member equal time, refrain from interruptions and allow a retort.

In my practice, one of the things I do is teach kids how to listen to one another, to show respect to their peers, and to practice the skills of empathy in order to form a connect. Now more than ever, we need to be reminded of those skills, and practice them with gusto.

DEEPER DIVE:

SEL Guidance in Response to the 2020 Election
CASEL offers guidance and resources for creating safe, supportive learning environments in which young people and adults can process the election and continue their civic participation.

 

When Someone Isn’t Nice, Should You Ignore It?

 

 

Self-Awareness in Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Now is a great time to get to know yourself better!

How do you respond to situations out of your control?

The Importance of Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is a core component of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and can have a huge impact on our lives.

First, just as mindfulness, meditation and gratitude can shift your mindset, so can self-awareness. Second, it can bring a positive spin on things. Third, it can enable you to better understand yourself and why you do what you do.

Social Emotional Learning
CASEL Social Emotional Learning Framework

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) – a trusted source for knowledge about high-quality, evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) – includes self-awareness as one of its core SEL competencies. The other four competencies are self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness.

Learn more and download CASEL’s SEL framework.

What is Self-Awareness?

Self-awareness is the process of bringing your attention to what’s happening in a mindful and open-minded way. It is the ability to recognize and understand emotions, values, goals, or strengths.

“Change requires two things: a goal, and an awareness of where one currently is in order to assess the discrepancy between the two.” – Psychology Today

If you want to change, you need to understand your current situation and then know where you want to go.

How to Build Self-Awareness for Social Emotional Learning

The good news is that self-awareness can be taught and adopted. I am a big proponent of open questions and reflective listening. These communication techniques allow the speaker and the recipient to reflect on their thought-processes and adapt.

Why is Self-Awareness so Important?

Self-awareness is a core component of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). It can help you realize how you respond to situations, where your weaknesses lie, and bring about positive decision-making.

1. You Recognize Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Dr Hallowell tells us to build up our strengths and worry less about raising our weaknesses. I completely agree. Cut yourself a break when things fall apart and celebrate when things go well.

2. You are not Held Hostage by Your Emotions

Self-management is another SEL competency.  It is very important for character development. It allows you to understand why you feel a certain way. Now you are in charge of how to react. Don’t let emotions control you. This is a healthy way to deal with life’s ups and downs.

3. It Provides Inspiration

Only you can really, truly motivate yourself. Want to start that big project? Channel your self-awareness to understand what you need to do to create a mindset that motivates you.

4. You Can Read the Room

It is critical to understand how others interpret us. How do you come across? As you are interacting with people, notice how they are responding to you. Pause and notice their body language and facial expressions. If you can read others’ reactions, you can change your behavior. I provide advice on how to Read the Room in my book and video.

5. You Know Your Values

No one can make you do something that you feel is not right or in your best interest. You decide what boundaries you will not cross. This is HUGE!

6. You Identify and Interpret Your Thoughts

Are you thinking or saying unkind things to yourself or others? Self-awareness allows you to recognize this and shift to a more positive approach.

7. You Listen to Your Gut

If your intuition is telling you something, you now listen. This is one of the best reasons to build self-awareness.

 

Self-awareness is your SuperPower! Build it, honor it and use it!

RESOURCES:

What is SEL?

Facebook Live Q&A Video 7

How to Nurture Social Emotional Development in Isolation

Social Awareness and Rejection Sensitivity

rejection sensitivity

 

Halloween had always been a highlight in our house. Our little kids love the costumes, the anticipation, the decorating, the planning of routes with friends – and of course the candy.

rejection sensitivityThe Halloween Popularity Contest and The Un-Invited Child

Halloween is around the corner and for many parents, this holiday now fills us with dread. Why? If our child is ignored or refused, or not invited out, or not with the friends they wished would ask them, they will sulk – or worse. Self-awareness and social-awareness are new variables added to a complex mix of invites, friends, social standing, popularity and more.

COVID19 has made Halloween even more complex. Our governor has allowed door to door activity, but we parents are still cautious. Firstly, the fear of herd mentality, overzealous mania, the lack of impulse control, and the proximity to strangers can be nerve-wracking. Secondly, many parents decide amongst themselves who their kids will trick or treat with. Finally, this trepidation of having to “Family Bubble” with unfamiliar people increases the chance that your child will be refused or ignored skyrockets.

rejection sensitivitySocial Awareness and The Perceived Slight

“Ugh! I can’t find anyone to trick or treat with me!”

After prodding, you convince your child to text a friend. He begrudgingly takes your advice and when he doesn’t hear back from the proposed companion yet sees his message or text has been received and even read, he is hurt. Of course this is painful. Yet, his self-awareness may not be tuned enough to recognize that this may not a slight. His previously strong self-management abilities erode to episodes of sulking, lashing out, stomping, refusing to talk or opting out all-together.  As parents, we may not know what is happening and are surprised by his recent snarky attitude.

Could it be Rejection Sensitivity?

Rejection sensitivity tends to make people opt out or avoid events or interactions because they are so accustomed to, and therefore dread, real or perceived rejection.

What is Rejection Sensitivity?

When you experience Rejection Sensitivity, you have a heightened reaction to a real, perceived or even anticipated event, person or situation. This reaction feels all-consuming and mammoth inside you and it’s crushing – even crippling!

When this event occurs, even if it is a small non-event to most, it feels enormous and can literally is paralyze you. This overwhelming physical sensation feels unbearable and on a scale of 1 to 10 – it is 10+! What matters here is how it makes you feel; not the actual situation.

Could you or your child have Rejection Sensitivity?

Learn more here

Relationship-Building and Responsible Decision-Making

Parents, this is where you come in. Empathy goes a long way here, and when they are able to listen, offer up some possible reasons why they weren’t invited. Open questions and reflective listening can get to the root of their feelings and help her self-manage the pain. It will also help her better understand the story she tells herself that keeps her avoiding social activities.  Collaborate on a plan to reach out to others. Keep trying until either someone accepts, attends an organized “trunk”-or-treat, or it is clear that the evening will instead consist of the immediate family only – and that isn’t so bad! 🙂

I encourage parents not to make this a huge deal. We want our kid to have something to do but it’s better to help them with larger issues than live and die on this one holiday!

Do your best to encourage fun and joy – we all need extra helpings!

Resources:

Rejection Sensitivity & ADHD

Social Withdrawal Concerns

“I don’t want to go out” or “No, You can’t see your friends” can be a sign that you are socially withdrawing out of more than just an abundance of precaution. You may be self-isolating out of fear.

Even before COVID19 and social distancing, many of the children and adults I hear from and work with struggled with loneliness and with real intimacy and connection.

Are You Self-Isolating Out of Fear?

Do you find that even if you feel like connecting, that you stop yourself?

Do you decline invitations in person or virtually, eat and spend most of your day alone and find the thought of being social too daunting? If so, it is critical to figure out why. Many people trying to be safe and responsible or who have trouble connecting to begin with find it hard to reach out. How do I do this? What can I say? As time goes on it gets harder. And life becomes less about the joy that connection brings us as social animals and more about drudgery, duties, and tasks. My concern is that long term isolation can lead to depression, addiction, anxiety, mood swings, self-harm,  and that people want to hear from you. And if you struggle, then so many of us professionals, books and resources are here and want to help you. Connection and reaching out is hard right now. It’s easy to slip off our radar and for many it’s easier to stay in their cocoon. Reaching out to connect feels hard. (Please scroll below for suggested resources)

If you fear that you have lost the ability to engage in meaningful conversations with others or will be subjected to the virus every time you leave the house, it is important to face the fear. Fear is normal.  Take small steps, small bites to reach out, to join even a virtual gathering by video.

Humans are Social Creatures

Our human brains are wired for connection so social isolation can become a healthy hazzard. We rely on each other, exchange knowledge and share community. Socially isolating means you are cut off from Human C – What Dr. Hallowell calls, the Other Vitamin C – Human Connection. Lack of human connection removes you from the resources you need, and can land you in a fatigue that is hard to extract yourself from.

Signs of Social Withdrawal

  1. Not calling anyone or answering your phone
  2. Not engaging with others even when invited
  3. Staying indoors all day and night
  4. Justifying working from home as a reason to hide indoors
  5. Shooting quick texts and emails rather than having a live conversation
  6. Becoming critical or even angry at others’ beliefs, behaviors, sanitary measures, etc.
  7. Refusing to allow children or family members to socialize in-person
  8. Increased anger, depression, guilt, boredom

Healthy Social Suggestions:

  1. Don’t keep your thoughts inside. Discuss your concerns with a trusted family member, friend or professional
  2. Take a chance and start a conversation with someone new.
  3. Join a social app, Meetup, chat, etc. to share your thoughts and communicate with like-minded people
  4. Try to avoid the news or discussions that center solely around COVID-19
  5. Get outside! Look at the sky, breath fresh air, take a walk
  6. Practice meditation or yoga to develop deep thinking and focus
  7. Try to figure out why you are reclusive without judging

RESOURCES:

Connection is a Verb

Encourage Social Skills Development

Keep the Social in Social Distancing

Encourage Social Skills Development

I take great pride in sharing with you the information that professionals know about how to encourage social skills development in people, especially those with lagging executive function skills.

Consequently, I believe that the more information you are given, the better you can to support it.

Be Patient: Transformation happens very slowly.

As a parent, you are there all the time and their partner, but it can be confusing for both of you to navigate the social terrain. Further, this process requires an abundance of patience!

Move from “No!!” to “Hmmm?…..

Bridge to Betterment

In my book, I describe Bridge to Betterment, the process of  moving from “no thank you!” – to realization – to change.

Your role as a social skills coach is not to push, but rather to hold a mirror to their actions and help them understand how change can happen. You will constantly need to help them see things… and this is where open ended questions and reflective listening come into play.

As you move through the stages of change… you will hear them say, “I kinda wish I had done that differently…” These nuggets can provide huge information as to how they think.

Model by your own actions and talk about how communication and friendship skills requires action. Discuss the stages of friendships and learn more about which stage they are in with each friend. Use questions and reflective listening to help your child or student to agree, disagree, tell clarifying information and to realize what they are doing. Find the carrot of who they want to be and link this to social skills and friendships.

Remember – Connection requires action!    #ConnectionMatters

Deeper Dive:

How to Keep the Social in Social Distancing

How Does Social Skills Development Occur?

Everyone is Working on Something

Do I need to Teach My Kid How to Make Friends?

Everyone is Working on Something

Do I Need to Teach My Kid How to Make A Friend? I Never Needed That Kind of Support, Why Does He?

How to Nurture Social Emotional Development in Isolation

 

 

The Silver Lining: Empathy and Kindness

Are you finding yourself unsettled and anxious? 

Routines? What routines?

What really matters now?

When circumstances jolt us from our routines, it is hard to reset. Business is not the same as usual. For many, the answer is to help others…

If there is a silver lining in all of this… it is that we are experiencing unexpected kindness.

I stopped in my tracks after reading this post in a local chat group. THIS is why the human spirit will not be denied.

How to Help Someone Struggling:

First, to set the scene, you have to create an opportunity to actually talk and meet him where he is. Pick a time and place most comfortable for both of you to have this initial discussion. People tend to be more receptive to conversation when they’re physically comfortable, unhurried and undistracted.

Ask questions. Don’t judge. Don’t demand she change.

Use Open-ended Questions:

By asking open-ended questions, you encourage honest, candid and thoughtful discussions. Open-ended questions use the words who, what, when, where, and how. Below are some conversation starters:

  • How are you doing?
  • What do you like (not like) about your situation?
  • What interests you?
  • What is your virtual world like?
  • What makes ______ appealing?
  • I have noticed that sometimes you have a hard time with (identify a behavior). What makes (name the behavior) hard for you?

If your child or friend resists, ask him, “What feels hard about this?”

If he denies there is a problem, you can say, “Well I have noticed…” and then name a specific series of situations. Ask him what feels uncomfortable or makes him afraid of making that change. Share with him the things that could happen if he were willing to work on this concern and ask him what he would like to be different. You will share with him a picture of possibilities—what it could be like. Some key phrases that are helpful:

  • “I am curious”
  • “Tell me more about that.”
  • “What is that like for you?
  • “What does that feel like?

When you are curious and really listen, you can never go wrong.

Clarify Concerns and Express Empathy:

As she is responding to your questions, be sure to clarify her concerns by being a reflective listener: Listen closely, repeat back what you heard and ask if you understand correctly. You can say: “Here’s what I hear you saying…is that right?” If she feels that her concerns are heard and validated, she will be more open to hearing what you have to say. Accept and validate her sentiments by using you and I statements, such as “You are overwhelmed” and “I am sad you are lonely.”View Post

Finally, and this is very important, be sure to express empathy: “I hear you,” “I get it,” “That must be hard.”

Learn more:

3 Tips to Building Empathy During a Social Crisis

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When Someone Isn’t Nice, Should You Ignore It?

People can be rude or insensitive.

How to react when someone is mean

If you are on the receiving end of a hurtful remark, you may be tempted to ignore it or brush it aside rather than risk adding to your discomfort by giving it further attention. Snubs, slights and other verbal “sticks and stones” are part of life, but our words matter, and what we say affects other people and affects how they feel about us.

A caring and constructive response is to talk to a friend, confident, family member in a way that gives you a chance to share your feelings, and the two of you an opportunity to reflect together on how to handle moments like this.

Often, such comments are made in a context that you or may not have witnessed yourself. Even if you think you know the circumstances, there may be more to it than you are aware.

How to navigate socially when you hit a bump.

  1. Tell it Like it Is.  Acknowledge to yourself or your child that what was said was inappropriate—a poor way for anyone to speak to someone else, whatever their gripe may be.
  2. Acknowledge feelings. Ask yourself, “How do I feel about what was said?” This gives you a way to analyze why it hurts so much.
  3. “What was that about?” No need to interrogate the offender, but try to put yourself in their shoes. Could you have misunderstood? Was it intentional. Could they be having a bad day? Is there any evidence that I brought this on?
  4. Do a quick reality check. Are your feelings reasonable given the circumstances? Just for your own understanding, listen to your self-talk for any emotional extreme that suggests you are struggling with something bigger than you might have imagined.

No matter what, there is always a choice. We can either believe the things that makes us feel small, or we can fight hard for ourselves and our worth.

Read more:

Learn more on how to connect better

 

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