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Take Five! – How Adults Can Benefit from a Time Out

 

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A time-out according to Wikipedia, “Is a form of behavioral modification that involves temporarily separating a person from an environment where unacceptable behavior has occurred.” It is a disciplining technique we associate with children. The logic behind the time-out method is that if you remove the child from a fun surrounding when they do something wrong, then it will eliminate that behavior.

Although this is a popular discipline method with children, it is also one that adults can and should use as well. I am not ashamed to admit that my husband Bernard has successfully used this technique on me, whether he is aware of it or not.

Before I explain how he did this, I must first clarify why it was necessary. My preset response when in conflict is to fight. By this I mean, I won’t listen, I get defensive, I make demands, I speak in absolutes, and lastly, the worst, in my opinion, I yell. Many times when my emotions are running high, I don’t even realize my voice has gone up two octaves. Although I have made numerous changes in how I engage in conflict, I feel I will always be a work in progress. It is not simple to make modifications to our behavior without mindfulness, perseverance, and I believe the help of others. Which brings me back to my husband, Bernard and how he assisted in correcting my conflict behavior.

We got into a heated conflict some months back. I was yelling, and Bernard asked me to stop. I responded how I always did when he said this to me, “I am not yelling.” Finally, Bernard had reached his tolerance limit and told me that we were having a verbal time-out for five minutes. I began to protest, but he held up his hand implying he would not be continuing unless I stop speaking for five minutes. So I sat in silence, at first I was annoyed by this pause.

It felt like a break and taking a break from conflict always felt counter-intuitive to me. While I know it can be helpful for you to calm down and be more productive when you come back to it, I still felt like it thwarted the momentum of the discussion. Usually, one person initiates the break, and it is that person who seems to hold power as to when the conversation recommences. Being as I am impatient I never liked conflicts to linger, and I found when breaks were initiated it prolonged a resolution.

As I continued to sit in silence, I noticed that I had calm down. When Bernard spoke after the five minutes, he said, ” Okay, I am willing to listen to you if you speak calmly, if you start yelling I’m initiating another time-out.” I felt irritated that he spoke to me like a kid, but in hindsight, my yelling did mirror a temper-tantrum thrown by a child. Now months later, I can acknowledge that his insistence on a five-minute time-out when I would start yelling (this occurred several more times) is what led to the minimizing of that behavior. I now will catch and correct myself before he even has an opportunity to say something.

If you are like me, you are not a fan of time-outs when in a fight. A break meaning you leave the room or house, go for a drive or a walk, or do something else for a while and then come back to the conversation after some time has passed. Try taking a five-minute time-out instead. It removes the fear that the conflict will go unaddressed or that you won’t revisit it later. While also giving you a moment to calm yourself down.

Just like with children, a time-out can be beneficial for addressing and even eliminating poor behavior and assist you in becoming a better you in conflict.

Abigail R.C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Guest Blogger

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Conflict Dynamics – Identifying Your Behaviors

Dr. Debra Dupree…helping people master relationships

Got Conflict? In this episode, we will be talking with Dr. Debra Dupree, Relationships at Work, Inc. She is a certified master trainer for the Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP). This profile identifies the hot buttons, and conflict behaviors that one uses when they are confronted by conflict. Are your behaviors constructive or destructive when you are confronted with conflict? How do we identify these behaviors and how do we begin to change?

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Back to School: Building a Bridge of Positive Communication to Create a Positive Learning Process

 

angela woodrowParent, you are your child’s best advocate. Just like painting a room, the more preparation you do the better the result. It may seem like oversimplification when it comes to communicating to your school, especially if it has not always been the most positive process. Separating the facts, emotions, and results can be confusing.

In this program we highlight three free resources that will help you:

  • Gather the facts
  • Organize your information
  • Identify effective ways to communicate with your child’s school /teacher

Knowing your child’s learning style and being able to quantify and collaborate their interest and abilities to what is going on in the classroom is like having cliff notes for accelerated learning. If you are a parent who feels overwhelmed, dealing with the demands of work as well as your child’s school issues this conversation is for you. Angela Woodrow, whom as a coach, provides the opportunity for individuals and the organizations to discover distinctions, maintain focus, and develop and implement action plans. As a life long learner, she advocates for parents and teachers to build the bridge to positive education processes for all.

For more information on this subject check out these sites: Parent Driven Schools, Authentic Happiness, and  Love and Logic

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Addressing the Needs of LGBTQ Youth

 

Stories of attacks on the way home from the bus stop, bullying in the classroom, and assaults in school hallways are all-too-frequent reminders that our community and many others throughout the US are still not safe places for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. Perhaps what is most heartbreaking is that some youth have come to believe that this is normal, that this is just part of growing up, or that this is how life is for LGBTQ individuals. SMYAL is working to change all that by providing an inclusive environment and empowering DC-area LGBTQ youth to be leaders and advocates for themselves and their peers in the broader community. We provide youth with the opportunities, support, and skills they need to de-escalate conflicts as they occur and to work within their community to root out these conflicts from their source.

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Dignity, Humiliation, and Conflict

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” this is the first statement of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since this declaration’s adoption in 1948, political rights have been foregrounded. Now the time has come for humankind to give dignity sustainable attention. Human rights are embedded in dignity, but dignity has a larger humanizing scope than rights. Dignity entails justice and peace, and it manifests as unity in diversity and supports an ethics of care.

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How To Manage Financial Conflicts Within Your Family During The Holidays

 

Does your family argue or fight about money or finances during the Holidays? Expectations about what kinds of gifts to buy, how much you can afford to spend on travel or even when siblings or other family members ask for money can cause conflict. Dave and Pattie will talk about some of the causes of Holiday financial conflicts, some strategies to keep from being sucked into the drama and even some tips about how to calm family members down when emotions about money are high.

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Organization and Communication – Surefire Ways to Reduce Conflict When Planning Your Wedding

love-1284492_1920Did you know that there are 6,200 weddings a day in the US and that June is the most popular month for weddings in the US? According to Sound Vision’s article on wedding statistics, the average wedding budget is $20,000 with 178 guests attending the event.  Organizing a wedding is no small feat when it comes to communicating a vision, creating a plan and coordinating all of the moving parts including service vendors, bridal parties, family members and guests.

Planning a wedding can be a very stressful process whether you are having a large or small event. There is potential for conflict to arise all the time, particularly between the bride and groom. My husband Bernard and I are newlyweds; we got married in September of 2015, and we had a 200 person wedding in the city of Baltimore.

I won’t sugarcoat anything, despite being the happiest day of our lives, planning a wedding of that size was incredibly stressful and overwhelming at times. However, the one key way I minimized the stress and sidestepped a lot of conflicts resulting from untold details was remaining organized and constantly communicating. On more than one occasion, vendors would say that I was the most organized and communicative bride they had ever met; a title I wear proudly.

Why are organization and communication so important when planning a wedding? 

Unless you are lucky enough to have a wedding planner, chances are the bride and groom (but most likely the bride), are doing the majority of the planning. There is a lot of details that go into making the day the magical one you envisioned. Being able to keep track of everything is necessary to ensure miscommunication and confusion don’t lead to conflicts.

How can brides stay organized and effectively communicate when planning their wedding?

  1. Get a Binder. My binder became my bible during the planning of our event. I had it organized into sections by the vendor; and I included my contract, pictures of what I wanted, etc. from each particular vendor filed in their section. While I know, it may be easier to have everything located on the web somewhere; I enjoyed having something tangible to hold so I didn’t have to sort through my phone to find stuff.
  1. Imagine What You Want. I am a very decisive person so when it came time to plan our wedding I had a very clear-cut idea of what I wanted which I think made things much easier when delivering my vision to our vendors. I know not every bride is like that, so vendors are great resources for sharpening your ideas. However, it important that you go in with some idea for them to springboard off of that way you don’t end up with a theme or colors you didn’t want.
  1. Ask Questions. I had a vendor tell me they felt like they were in an interview when I came to inquire about using their services because I asked so many questions. Before my first meeting with each vendor, I Googled, ” Questions to ask your [ fill in vendor].” I found that I not only covered a lot of ground, but I was able to see if they would be the best fit for the event.
  1. Create an Itinerary. You may think this is a little much, but I strongly recommend sending out an itinerary the week before your wedding to anyone who is involved: vendors, bridal party, readers, etc. The itinerary I created for our bridal party beginning with the rehearsal and ending with ceremony covered everything they needed to know from what to wear to the rehearsal and times they needed to be there to a checklist of what they needed to bring the day of the wedding. By sending this plan out, I was able to minimize my stress the night of the rehearsal and the actual wedding day, and I avoided having to answer repetitive questions.
  1. Speak Up. I have heard many brides complain after the fact that they didn’t like something a vendor/bridal party/family member did; or were disappointed by something a vendor/bridal party/ family member didn’t do. My rule is if you don’t say it or clarify it you cannot expect them to know what you wanted or didn’t want. Many brides fear being labeled a “Bridezilla” but if you hold back your wishes or don’t make sure everyone understands when things don’t go as planned you cannot blame anyone but yourself.

 

Have a Great Weekend,

Abigail R. C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Apprentice

 

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Siblings That Squabble Don’t Have To Punch and Shout

 

 

Summer is ending and the school year draws near. Our kids have had lots of fun times together. Siblings can be the best of friends, but conflict and disagreements are also a natural part of their ever-changing relationships. We may not always realize it, but we have many ways to help our kids learn how to “fight fair” – to work out disagreements without punching or shouting.

Join me and my returning guest, Parent Coach Janet Bonnin of Fine-Tuned Families. We will dive into a great discussion with many tips and ideas you can take to head off big “blow ups” and guide constructive communication. We will also be joined by a super mother of eight, Maggie Luevano, and two of her kids who are part of the Hill Country musical group, “Mariachi ‘L'”. Maggie and her kids will share stories of growing up in this fantastic family, a brief history of the group’s formation, and how the family has dealt with sibling disagreements over the years. Don’t miss this great conversation!     


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Cooling Down Conflict in Your Family Business

 

 Being in business with your family can bring lots of rewards, including financial security and personal pleasure in working with people you know well and love. But it can also be the source of misunderstanding, antagonism and painful conflict. The show looks at common causes of conflict in family businesses and how that conflict can be resolved and even prevented.                   

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You Thought Your Marriage Was Miserable- Wait Till You Get to Court…

 

 

 

The breakup of a marriage almost always involves some level of conflict between spouses, but the process of litigation during divorce ratchets that conflict up to a level of devastation for all members of the immediate and even extended family. Instead of getting away from the turmoil by divorcing, the adversarial nature of a legal “fight” can actually create permanent emotional and financial damage. If the goal of divorce is to stop the daily conflict, then the process should reduce that conflict while helping establish better relationships for the children and their parents. We will discuss how parents can create an emotionally supportive divorce that promotes a healthy relationship between themselves and a loving future for their children.

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