SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Scaling your Understanding

I found another interesting tool to use with children, especially when we are struggling to understand them and be understood as well...

Ask for your child to rate your understanding of them on a scale of 1 to 10.

I did

Daughter is so used to me this way; she gives me a look (after I explain that she needs to give me a score on a scale of 1 to10, based on how much she believes I understand her)
and says ..."8"

ooo...I like that I think

but aloud I give her a complimentary look and ask:

"are you sure?" (not sure I should have done that)

so far so good, but should I doubt her initial judgement...am I not giving her a very warped signal that she may be wrong and has to rethink?....lines of worry...

but...it is fine I asked as she says:
"maybe 7"..."hmmm...between 7 and 8"

wow, I like this....so now I know my understanding can dip and dance, up and down...and my empathy is labile...and she knows it too...super!!

On to son...

So how do you rate me on a scale of...blah...blah...

I had to repeat it as he gave me a blank stare, while there I was smug in my knowledge that I am getting a Ten-on-Ten on this one...

Failed....failed...failed....

Oh Yes!!!...He gave me a zero!!

Why?

...I stared at him like a startled doe...Did I explain what was required properly? Is he too young for this? Does he really think so??

Sadly and to my astonishment I realised that for him Understanding = Listening and he tells me I never listen to him.

I disclose this with genuine pain in my heart...as I argued with myself mentally; but what about all those moments of perfect understanding we have had, what about those unsaid words and shared looks that made me think we understand each other perfectly...Is this fair?

Then I realise this is not about fairness...this is not even about feeling understood; it is simply about Listening....

We all feel understood when certain criteria is satisfied, when certain expectation is met or when certain responses/reactions are complemented....

that is; our way of being is matched or complemented by the others way of being...

Obviously I was not being/listening enough or I should say well enough to warrant a number on his rating scale...

Back to the drawing board...surely now I will need to take care to complement his feelings, to be with his thoughts, listen....and improve my score card!

(a silent thanks that I can do this with him...and he is allowing me to grow with him
...also this can be done every time you are in conflict or unable to resolve an issue...giving you a perspective on how the communication needs to alter)