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Lesson 5:  Talk and Listen
Quote: Talk to explain, listen to understand.
Statement: Often children’s conflicts are not complicated, and providing the skills to communicate empowers them to solve their problems quickly. However, constructive communication can be like playing a sport. There are rules, expectations and goals that both sides have, and if students don’t understand these or have the necessary skills they can quickly find that trying to talk or listen to the other person just makes the conflict worse. The art of communication involves awareness of body language, tone of voice and the words to use.
Research: A research paper from the Journal of Law and Conflict Resolution (2009) identified the significance of communication in conflict and states that “Peace is a desirable condition but conflicts are inevitable in any society. In view of this, language, information and communication are very essential in promoting, preventing and resolving conflict situations. Negotiation or dialogue can only take place where exchanging and sharing of information is possible. Communication, therefore, is the goal of language as mutual agreement is the goal of conflict resolution.” Gottman and DeClaire, (2001) found in their research that communication is more than the words we say. In fact, our body language and tone of voice often speak louder than our words.
Tips to teach this skill at home:
1. Calm down first. This avoids attacking or defending. It helps you to be understood and understand. • Explain how you feel and what specifically the other person has done that has upset you. • Describe what you want to happen instead. • When listening, reflect back what they said. Show understanding of their feelings and provide a response to what they have said that might lead to preventing the conflict from being continued.
2. Encourage children to practise using Talk and Listen when they have a conflict with siblings or they are trying to talk something out with you.
3. The more parents use this language and demonstrate it the more confident children will be to Talk and Listen to others. With your child, visit the BRIDGE BUILDERS Online Learning Program Lesson Five and do some of the fun activities as a family. Validating this learning empowers your child with valuable skills to learn how to; Talk and Listen, and be empowered for life!
By Jocelyne Chirnside
Empowering Life Skills