Basically I was wondering this - how do you keep calm and polite under repeated fire?
Then I realised - but I KNOW how! I worked for six years in Mental Health, in a situation where staff were very often resistant to what I had to teach them, show them, and train them in. So I had a good old wander down memory lane, and relived those days a little to remember how I kept calm and carried on!
This is what I've come up with -
1. Remember you are the messenger, not the message.
- This is so important when your message (as is so often the case) is not being well received.
- Deep breath.
- It is NOT your fault.
- You job is to deliver the message, help the person understand the message, support them through dealing with their reactions to it and help them deal with it, set relevant actions in motion, etc.
- If it's not going over well, maybe you could look at how you're delivering it?
- No good speaking the wrong language, for example - maybe you need to do a bit of research on what the best language would be!
- Work on your delivery - honest and open body language, for example, can be really helpful.
2. Don't take it personally.
- Remember, you are the messenger, not the message, and they are reacting to the message not you.
- They could be reacting against what you stand for - the establishment, most likely, both in the cases of the NHS rolling out disliked processes and in being a parent!
- Teens are SUPPOSED to be rebelling against the establishment, so they can find themselves and (eventually) break away from the nest - so don't expect endless perfect communication, no matter HOW you parent. A little grumpiness is normal and natural and full-fills a function.
- So remember, they are being negative towards the message you bring, and/or the role you represent, not you.
- Keep calm.
3. Be the person you want to be.
- You want to be the calm, loving parent? Be that person. It doesn't matter what the other person is choosing to be or do.
- Fake it until you make it. Don't worry if you don't FEEL calm. Do your utmost to ACT calm and eventually the rest of you will catch up and start feeling it. Really!
- Do your homework - work out exactly how and what and who you want to be. Read blogs of people in similar situations, scout out your local library for books on the topic, speak to your friends and relations about it, get a friend to role play out typical situations with you.
4. Take your time.
- The most likely time you'll speak or act in a way which you may come to regret is when you are rushed, pushed, feel like you're in a corner, so take your time.
- Breathe. Count to five, or ten, don't feel pushed into filling the space in the conversation straight away.
- Learn a few stock phrases you can say on autopilot, buying for time while you formulate better words - politicians use this technique all the time, and I've used a lot in interviews. 'That's very interesting', 'Hmm, I'd have give that some thought,' 'I'm not sure, let me think about about that', 'Ooo, that's an interesting question' for example.
5. Let it go.
- There is going to be conflict and unpleasant communication some of the time, that's just life. Accept this.
- Deal with it as best as you can at the time, think over it afterwards and work how out how you can do it better next time, then let it go. You don't want to approach every situation with the baggage of the previous ones hanging round your neck.
- Don't beat yourself up about 'failing', put that energy into improving instead.
- Don't expect them to be perfect, don't expect yourself to be perfect either.
- This too will pass - like toilet training, toddler tantrums and so on, one day you'll look back and wonder what all the angst was about. Remember it's just another phase in this relationship to negotiate your way through.
6. Utilise back-up.
- As a parent, you may not have a boss or colleagues or company grievance policies to fall back on, but you still have resources - use them.
- Don't be afraid to call in help - maybe another relative or mentor figure would be a better person to deliver the message, but don't let this become a ganging up and bashing exercise!
- You're not an isolated ignorant island to be ignored, and showing you have connections and supportive demonstrates this.
- Also use your back up to support you - talking to a sympathetic party about it can really help, and often bring you to the conclusion that you're actually dealing with it fairly well.
So there we have it- I'm going to trying to remember all these points from now on... Anyone got any others or any other handy tips to add?