Since the beginning of the computer era, the way humans have managed relationships, has been ever changing. The way we crave stimulation from technology has in some sense replaced the connection we crave from another human. MIT Professor, Sherry Turkle dives into how to break through technology and form a true meaningful connection to one another:
Having children certainly turns the focus away from yourself and on your child, but there are a few things about yourself that you need to be aware of… As children copy almost everything, it’s important to be mindful of these habits as a parent that you may or may not want them to pick up on as they grow older:
Using Phone Manners
How and when we talk on our phones gets passed along to our littlest mimickers. If you ever want to see how you look while talking on the phone, hand your kiddo a pretend phone and watch. We guarantee that what you’ll witness afterward is a reflection of you.
Unhappy with your body? Join the club, but please don’t shame yourself in front of your tot. Kiddos pick up on these comments faster than you can imagine — and may repeat it to themselves the next time they look in the mirror.
“I love you, but I don’t have to like you right now”, is definitely a quote that comes up in relationships every now and then, as arguments inevitably come up… It’s whether we argue in a constructive way or throw tantrums that determines the route of the relationship. So the next time he leaves the toilet seat up, or she spends too much of the budget on shopping, remember these tips from psychotherapist Vikki Stark, director of the Sedona Counselling Center of Montreal, that will leave you holding hands in no time… or whatever else you like to do to make up 🙂
Don’t run from fights.
Couples in it for the long-haul don’t shy away from discussing topics that could just as easily be swept under the rug. They ask the big, scary questions ASAP — “When, if ever, are we going to have kids?” “What are we going to do if you get that job in another state? I don’t want to move to there!” — so they don’t become bigger isssues in the relationship later on, said Diane Sawaya Cloutier, an author and relationship expert.
“When taboo or uncomfortable topics remain unaddressed, they can turn any benign event into a big drama that could have been avoided in the first place,” she said. “Couples who talk about it can manage potential dramas.”
Start slow and take turns talking.
Arguments generally end the same way they began, said Bonnie Ray Kennan, amarriage and family therapist based in Southern California. Couples who’ve mastered the art of arguing fairly take things slow, addressing difficult conversations with a soft, reassuring tone and dialing it down whenever things get too emotionally charged.
“Starting a difficult conversation softly and respectfully dramatically increases the chances of a good outcome,” she said. “Conversely, a ‘harsh start-up’ is very hard to process well, especially for men.”
Couples who argue with finesse also know the value of give and take: “One person speaks and the other person truly listens,” Ray Kennan said.
Acknowledge each other’s feelings and points of view.
They may be bumping heads but couples in happy, long-time relationships try their best to see the other side of the argument, Kipp said.
“They may say, ‘I know you see it differently than me, but I appreciate that you are listening to my perspective,'” she said. “These positive moments decrease defensiveness and allow for a more productive conversation.”
They never forget that ultimately, they’re a team.
Even during their most tense arguments, healthy couples never forget that they’re a team: for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health… and until the argument exhausts them and both parties agree that they’d rather call a timeout and get a bite to eat.
“Couples in satisfying long-term relationships are able to remember that, no matter how angry they may be, life will continue after today,” said Stark. “Because of that, they don’t want to do lasting damage. Even in an emotional state, they are able to hang on to the long-term value of the couple. They’re a team, protecting their future together.”
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Being a good listener is difficult, especially with all of the noise in our society today (texts, reminders, emails, to- do lists, etc)… However, good listening skills effect many aspects of our daily lives, from the success of our business to nurturing relationships, so it is important to really sharpen those skills. Listening expert Paul Sacco, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, explains, there are just a few simple habits that set the real good listeners apart from the rest:
Being mindful in conversations is a hallmark characteristic of a good listener, Sacco notes. When you’re fully aware in the moment, you’re more likely to retain what you’re hearing and respond with more authenticity. That means stashing those phones and ridding yourself of all distractions. “Good listeners really put everything down and focus on [the person in front of them],” he says. “And as a result, the other person becomes instantly aware that they have an interest in what they have to say.”
They’re emotionally intelligent.
Emotional intelligence, or the awareness of our emotions and the emotions of those around us, can help enhance any interaction — especially when it comes to listening.
According to Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, cultivating a high “EQ” is paramount when sharpening your listening skills. And all it takes is practice and focus. “When you’re caught up with thinking about what you’re going to say next, you aren’t listening,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 2011. “But if you stop what you’re doing, and really focus on the person talking, you activate neurons in your brain and your body starts to hone in on the other person. This helps you retain more information.”
They pose significant questions.
Part of active listening isn’t just lending your ear, but asking appropriate follow-up questions to draw out more information. This ability to provide thought-provoking feedback is one of the best ways to show you’re engaged in what the other person has to say, Sacco says. “People who are good listeners validate other people’s feelings,” he adds. “It shows that what they’re saying makes sense.”
They’re not on the defensive.
Not all of the things you hear are going to be rosy. “I’m great at listening when someone is telling me things I want to hear,” Sacco explains. “It gets a little more difficult when someone gives you feedback that you find troubling or you perceive as being damaging to your ego.”
Effective listeners don’t block out negative criticism. Instead, they listen and develop an understanding of what the person is trying to convey before responding. “They’re aware of their own reactions to other people,” Sacco says. “The difference between a terrible listener and a great listener can sometimes be the response time. A lot of conversations … can go pretty bad or pretty well depending on the ability to step back and just take a moment [before responding].”