Wishing for a Silent Night?
‘Tis the season when families come together to celebrate the holidays. It’s a time of joy and giving – but for many people, all that family togetherness means it’s also a time when tensions bubble up to the surface.
Nothing brings out the stress like packing up a carload of gifts and kids and hitting the road for that annual holiday trip to see the family. Unless it’s hosting a houseful of guests, trying to find that perfect gift for the spouse who already has everything, or sitting around the yuletide fire trying to keep Grandpa from tipping over as he polishes off his fifth spiked eggnog.
Thank goodness the New Year is right around the corner, and you can get to work on your resolutions. If one of them is to resolve the long-simmering conflicts in your family, my holiday gift to you is this tip: It all starts with being a good listener.
Good listeners are active listeners. They respond by restating what the person just said, without judgment. They paraphrase what was just said, so the other person knows they are really paying attention. They let the person know that they understand how they are feeling, and how strongly they feel about it. They ask questions to clarify what the other person is saying. They pause the conversation every now and then to summarize and review what has been said so far.
These active listening techniques show that you care about how the other person is feeling, and that you are interested in resolving the conflict. And the best part is, active listening tends to be contagious, so it’s very likely the other person will begin to do the same for you when it’s your turn to explain your feelings.
Active listening is one small part of a multistep process that I teach people as I help them through conflict resolution. If you’d like to start 2016 off right by learning more about how you and your loved ones can work together to resolve your conflicts, I invite you to attend one of my upcoming workshops. Through education and role play, you’ll gain the tools and skills you need to put your conflict to rest, once and for all.
Or, contact me to learn more about my private mediation sessions, where I can guide you and your family member through the entire process of reaching resolution, together.
I wish you and yours a happy – and above all, peaceful – holiday season.