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Verbal Aikido for Youth – Manage Verbal Attacks Peacefully and Effectively

Luke ArcherStephen - 1Verbal Aikido is a means of communication that enables the practitioner to transform verbal attacks, both effectively and peacefully. This philosophy comes from the Japanese martial art of Aikido that seeks to transform ‘attackers’ into training partners. It’s a fun and easy-to-learn approach that can be learned from ages as young as 5 years old. Regular practice of Verbal Aikido considerably increases self-esteem, altruism, and the confidence to manage conflict in a self-affirming and harmonious manner.             

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The Dreaded Conversation: How to Confront a Family Member

Family_In_CarSummer is FINALLY here! The kids are out of school. Aren’t you itching to plan a family vacation? This means more bonding time with kids, in-laws, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. (Yay!). Spending numerous hours day-end-and-day out your extended family can be quite overwhelming. I will share a story of a husband and wife vacationing at a beach house with their in-laws, spouse’s siblings, and their children followed by tips on how to confront a family member before the conflict escalates.

The Beach House Drama

Imagine you and your spouse are asked to spend a free week, all expenses paid vacation, at a beach house for a week with your in-laws and spouses siblings, and their kids. Weeks leading up to the vacation the only thing you can think about is catching up on some lost sleep and relaxing on the sand reading a book. The first day was amazing – you woke up at 10AM and lounged at the beach for most of the day. Later that evening, you bonded with the kids and in-laws. At 7AM the following morning, you are woken by your mother-in-law playing a yoga video. Not letting it ruffle your feathers, you get yourself back to sleep. On the third day, the same video wakes you up at 7AM. Fed up, you confide in your spouse about the noise asking, why does she have to do yoga at 7am? Your spouse says deal with it and go back to sleep. Not wanting to ruin the last few days arguing with your spouse or holding a grudge against your mother-in-law, you decide to confront her.

Having the Difficult Conversationfamily drama blog

When confronting a family member it is important to enter the conversation with a clear, open mind and be willing to listen and possibly compromise. In the book, Difficult Conversations the authors attribute delivering a difficult message to “throwing a hand grenade.” No matter how it’s delivered it will cause damage (Stone, D., Patton, B., & Heen, S. ,1999). The authors advise us to:

  • Understand what has happened from the other person’s point of view (perhaps the mother-in-law didn’t know she was disturbing the whole house)
  • Explain your point of view (you are on vacation to sleep in and do not want to wake up at 7AM to loud noises)
  • Share your feelings (being woken up out of sleep makes you grouchy all day)
  • Work together to figure out a way to manage the problem going forward (choose a different workout time, turn the TV down, close the bedroom door, do yoga with your mother-in –law)

Being understanding and open will hopefully allow both parties to see each other’s point of view and soften the blow of the grenade. However, you spend your summer do not let family conflict get in the way of a great time! Be open to having that difficult conversation.

By Yvette Watson Jenkins

Graduate Student, University of Baltimore – Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

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