Are You a Constructive
Grandma, Grandpa, or Mother-in-Law?
a special feature from Kay Ziplow & Leslie Zinberg, founders
Relativity speaking, we all mean well, right? Of course we do! Often times we say things with the best of intentions, but in the end, our words, our delivery, and just the general environment of the conversation fall short of anything but trouble. Hey, everyone is human. So, when we falter as adults and need to take a quick look at ourselves in the mirror, remember these words of wisdom and advice we have collected to share with you.
- When an event or conversation occurs that you are not too keen on or even one that you have an opinion on, don’t wait to talk about them. Choose a good time to talk–and whatever you do, don’t let anything fester, EVER! A day after the incident is the sweet spot. Don’t let emotions marinate for a long period of time. Nothing good comes out of what may have been said or happened three months ago.
- Remember what your intentions are. Think about what you want to share of your thoughts or opinions. Having a healthy conversation means that you want success for everyone, not a demise. While you may not be able to create new habits out of poor ones, i.e. just because your son-in-law doesn’t help with the family dishes after a BBQ doesn’t mean that he is lazy. Take time to assess the true or real situation that you want to highlight. Don’t sweat the small stuff as they say.
- Think about your content and think about your delivery. Watch your tone. Sounds like a huge task, right? Well, it isn’t. If, for example, your son or daughter says something that makes you uncomfortable, or does something you really do not approve of, think about how you want to approach the issue at hand. How can you soften the situation? Chat over coffee? Over the phone? In person? Whatever you do, don’t put it into writing; emails and text are cowardly. Be proud, be kind, and show others that caring is full of courage.
- If you are uncomfortable about initiating a discussion – don’t get anxious. Take a deep breath and remember – to start a good dialogue is at times awkward. Take this approach: start with a simple question such as, “how did you feel last night when …”
Beginning a conversation with a question gives inclusiveness and a sense of sharing to all those who are talking and exchanging.
- Use fewer words and choose your words wisely. Just like a good show on Broadway, rehearse what you would like to say. It’s a simple as that. Be as specific as possible and give example to the truth. Do not use comparisons to anything, incident or person. Whatever you do, remember that talking is an action word that requires all the parties to participate. And listen!! Clearly, you must always remember there are others with feelings and emotions … and different points of view.