Sometimes a relationship, whether a friendly, professional, or romantic one, can have it’s stormy days. Conflict is an inevitable part of being in proximity with another human being. If you’re prepared for life’s windy moments, you can avoid damage and safely weather the storm.
Here are three tips for those rainy relationship moments:
In Iowa, spring is prime time for severe weather like large hail, damaging winds, and even tornadoes. During this season Iowans often take precautions and keep an eye on the weather forecast. Weather can change suddenly making it crucial that your family and your home are prepared in the event of a severe weather outbreak. This takes a little extra planning and effort, but it’s worth it.
Relationships have seasons as well. For example, is it an especially stressful week for your friend at work? He or she might be a bit grumpier during the staff meeting tomorrow. Maybe the anniversary of the loss of a loved one is approaching, and your spouse usually struggles with sadness during that time. Did your 4 year old go to bed late last night? Well, that might mean the probability of tantrums is higher than usual at about 2:00pm. Whatever the circumstance, there are often signs that a person you share life with may be unsettled. You can prepare for these moments by having extra patience, being more considerate, and even doing something special for the person needing a special touch. A small gift, an extra phone call, or even a funny email might be just the touch to lift their spirits and keep the storm clouds from brewing. In addition, knowing the season can prepare you to have patience with your co-worker’s shorter temper, or your child’s poor attitude.
When the watch turns to a warning, you know the storm is inevitable. This is when you rush to your safe place. A storm shelter can’t be just any nook or cranny in the house, though. The safest place is the lowest and most central place in your home, farthest away from windows and doors. This protects you from flying debris and shattered glass. When an argument or confrontation is imminent in your relationship, there is a safe place for this as well.
In a tornado, panic can cause a person to make foolish decisions and enter harms way. If you are too worked up, you might say something you didn’t mean out of anger. So before you start any confrontation, take a moment to calm down and collect your thoughts. Think of why you are thankful for the person you are engaging with. Before you do anything, take a deep breath!
Choose to move to a location where you can have an open discussion. The middle of your office probably isn’t the best place to finally have that phone call with your friend. And right in front of your children isn’t the best place to have that discussion about the bills. Find somewhere where you can talk to each other.
Remember, violence is never a safe way to have an argument. If the person you are having a confrontation with seems to be too full of lightening, no place is a safe place for that conversation. Hitting, punching, spitting, choking, all of these things are not acceptable forms of communication and you should seek help right away.
Sometimes no matter what precautions you take, the wind and hail still destroy. Words are like that, too. When an argument dies down and you begin to see more clearly, you must take the time to apologize for saying hurtful things. If a tornado tore off your roof, you would certainly have it fixed right away. You must take time for apologies and healing after an argument. Be able to admit your wrongdoing, and be willing to accept an apology as well. These are skills and practices worth developing.
Again, this advice is in regards to escalated disagreements. If someone is abusing you, seek help immediately. You can do so by clicking here.
No matter the storm, with a little forethought, you can be more prepared to withstand the struggle. Our free HRI workshops offer you skills-based curricula and tools to use in order to communicate in a healthy way with the people around you. You can learn more about them by clicking here.
One of the most amazing things about parenthood, in my opinion, is watching your children develop their unique personalities. Each stage of life brings a new look into your child’s character. In a way, its like you get to meet them again, and again. When they are born, you are introduced to this tiny person. But that tiny person is going to grow, and as they grow they are going to discover, and have adventures, and begin to show you what they love. And if you have more than one kid, you quickly see how different your children can be from one another.
Any relationship has its beautiful and difficult moments. Parenting is no different. Getting to know someone means you learn what makes them tick, what inspires them, and what totally absolutely drives them crazy. Learning these things helps you relate to them in a better way, thus minimizing conflict and encouraging joy.
My kids are absolutely different people. One is a bee, the other a butterfly.
My son is my busy bee. He’s focused. He’s practical. He’s direct. But he’s also creative, and kind, protective, and productive. He likes to be with people, but he needs his alone time to recharge. He also struggles with anxiety when things are out of order or if someone breaks the rules.
My daughter is my little butterfly. She floats from one thing to another without much care. If her room is messy, she doesn’t mind, she’s too busy thinking about flowers. She loves to create, and sing, and dance, and play in the mud, too. She loves to be with people, always, every second. She is also very competitive, and has a temper that rivals the Hulk’s.
So, quite naturally, I have to parent my kids differently in some ways if I want to keep some peace in my household.
Here’s an everyday example.
After my kids get home from school, my daughter could easily be with people for several more hours. My son, however, needs time to recharge by himself. So when they get home, rather than making them do the same thing, I send her outside to play with friends or with her dogs, and I send him to have alone time. I don’t have her bring friends over during this time because he needs to unwind after being with people all day long. And I don’t make her go isolate, because it would only make her tired. She’d fall asleep, and then as parents surely know, bedtime would be a nightmare. Sometimes this varies, of course, but that seems to be the usual routine. No matter what, I make sure that my son gets his quiet time and my daughter stays active. Figuring this out about my kids has made their lives, and mine, much, much easier. Just half an hour of “me” time designed for each of them means two kids who are much happier and therefore more ready to cheerfully comply with their to-do lists.
As they get older, this could completely change, or stay the same. I have no idea how different stages of development will change how I interact with them. I have no idea if a bully at school will steal a little bit of my daughter's confidence, and I'll have to approach her more carefully than I'm used to in order to restore it. I won't know if my son's first day of middle school will leave him full of anxiety or excitment until it happens, and until I ask him. I'll have to meet him again. This cycle continues, but that's not a bad thing. It's exciting. I get to walk with them, and learn more about them.
In order to relate well to our children, we must get to know them individually. We must communicate with them, have positive conflict resolution, and clear expectations. Take time to get to know your kids again and again. If we take time to do this, parenthood might just be a little less difficult and a lot more enjoyable.
Our parenting workshops can help you pinpoint areas in your relationship with each of your children that you can improve. Parenting happens on an individual basis. So understanding your children on individual levels is very important. We can help with that in a very practical way! To join us for a free workshop, click here and find out what classes are available for you!