Today I received a phone call from a friend. Last week she told me how she had been having real difficulty communicating with her son. As a young adult he really wanted independence and autonomy but instead of communicating this he was making it clear that any advice no matter how well-meaning was not welcome or wanted. What was difficult for her was that the course of action he was taking looked set to create problems that only wiser, older eyes could predict. As a mother she was feeling powerless and didn’t feel she could sit on the side-lines and do nothing. At the time, I demonstrated how the Dialogue Road Map could remove the ‘stalemate’ and test the water with a different approach. It was such a joy to get today’s phone call where she told me she was able to open a dialogue and they chatted for two hours. She said she felt more connected to him because he wasn’t shutting her out. She felt more able to help him explore his options rather than give advice.
Names have been changed.
When a conversation reaches stalemate, it’s important to step back and try to understand what is driving the other person to pull down the shutters. In this case the son’s desperation to meet his need for autonomy was driving his decision making process. Until his mother could acknowledge, accept and respect his need to his satisfaction, nothing could move forward.
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