My mom likes to joke that as a parent she has bruised knees and a bloody tongue. The bruised knees are from praying on them. The bloody tongue is from stopping herself from saying something.
My oldest daughter and I have recently had turmoil over her buying a car. She knows what she wants and can legally purchase it. During our discussions, I feel my advice is dismissed. This frustrates me. Admittedly, I am not a car expert. But at age fifty-one, I’ve owned a few more than she has.
During our last heated discussion she ran up to her bedroom, spitting out some unpleasantry while closing her bedroom door. I started up the stairs after her and stopped dead in my tracks.
Suddenly I realized that in regard to this car topic, I had tossed out everything I know and have taught about communication. I’d blown it.
First of all, no one communicates positively while angry. It isn’t possible. During moments of high emotion, the best choice is to allow the person (or yourself ) to cool off.
One cools off by “biting your tongue”. If, instead of retreating had I plowed into her bedroom and continued, the discussion would have escalated into an arguement.
Retreating gave both of us time to cool down. Within moments, the electricity in the air settled. By then, I understood that we would need to choose a better time and place to discuss this issue.
I also needed to lay a positive foundation by communicating my love for her, and my desire that her choice brings contentment. In the past, my love had been drowned out by my passionate concern.
One of my favorite topics is the power of the pause. A pause allows you to take a ‘time out’ before acting to reflect upon whether your actions are getting your closer to. or further away from your goal.
Biting your tongue is a powerful tool to use in communication. It allows us to listen to the other person, and reflect upon our next choice of action.
And, by the way, while your are biting your tongue… getting down on your knees for a quick bit of advice can’t hurt either.