What Stops Your Kids from Listening to You?

Below is a list of 12 Roadblocks to communication. 
Each of these shut down communication with others. 
Which ones do you see yourself doing 
and how is it impacting your relationships? 


1. Ridiculing, Name Calling, Shaming  
    Such messages can have a devastating effect on self image and may lead to
 similar responses back. Messages like this will not encourage others to look at what they are doing realistically. Instead, they will focus on the unfairness of the message. 

2. Criticizing, Judging, Blaming, Disagreeing

  This  message makes others feel bad, incompetent, inadequate, inferior and/or stupid. They may respond defensively - after all, no one likes to be wrong! Evaluation such as this cuts off communication - "I won't tell you if you're going to judge me!".

3. Warning, Threatening, Admonishing   
    These bring in the threat of power and produce resentment, anger, resistance and rebellion. They invite others to do exactly 
what they are being warned not to do.

4. Preaching, Moralizing, Obliging

    This may make others feel guilty or inadequate. Some may really dig in their heels, preferring to resist you than solve their problem! A hidden communication in this response is "You're not smart enough to know what to do yourself". They may respond by saying "Who says?" or "Why should I?".  

5. Directing, Ordering, Commanding

    In addition to provoking active resistance and rebellion, these responses may frighten and may also produce resentment - no one likes to be ordered around. From their perspective it feels as if their own needs are being ignored. 

6. Lecturing, Arguing, Instructing

    Responses like this imply that you think you are superior. They will bring defensiveness and counter-arguments and may cause others to defend their position more strongly.

7. Diagnosing, Analyzing, Interpreting

    To tell someone what their 'real' feelings or motives are is threatening; if you're right, leaving others feeling exposed, and unfair if you're wrong, resulting in resistance and anger. Again, this kind of response implies you think you are superior.  

8. Interrogating, Questioning, Probing

    If you ask closed questions such as who, where, what, others may perceive you as being 'nosey'. They may feel 'on the witness stand' and will need to defend themselves. 

9. Advising, Giving Solutions or Suggestions

   The idea that somebody out there has the perfect solution to our problems is a very appealing one. Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. Because words are limitations of thoughts, and often poor ones at that, and because one can never know another person's full experience, even the best intentioned advice is off base.
     It is also true that often people simply do not want advice. They may need to express feelings or think through a problem out loud.
     When you give advice to someone, you are implying again that you think you are superior to the person on the receiving end. Advice doesn't allow for creative thinking on the part of others. 

10. Distracting, Humoring, Diverting, Withdrawing
. This kind of response communicates that you are not interested and do not respect anothers feelings. It is experienced as rejection. 

11. Praising, Approving, Agreeing, Evaluating Positively

     While these responses are appropriate at times, they can come across as insincere flattery, bribing or judgement. They  imply that you are the evaluator and may then evaluate other things as bad, or that the lack of a positive comment may imply a criticism. 

12. Reassuring, Consoling, Sympathizing, Supporting

     While these responses are usually very well intentioned, others often feel that you just don't understand. There's a hidden message here which is that you are not comfortable with their negative feelings. They may respond "It's easy for you to say, but you don't understand how bad I feel" or "You're just saying that to make me feel better". 

This list of roadblocks to communication is based on Thomas Gordon's book, Parent Effectiveness Training 

What CAN you say?  Start by using an "I" message.
I feel ______, when you ______, because _______ and I would like __________.