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Goals & Roles
Reducing Conflict With Better Communication
Our most recent family meeting was designed to reduce conflict and give everyone a chance to speak.
It wasn’t an Airing of Grievances but I felt much better afterwards.
My strategy was simple.
Discuss How We Help Each Other Achieve Goals
Along the way, I worked in a couple gentle reminders about areas that aren’t my role.
My hope is to reduce conflict. Most our day-to-day conflict has ZERO to do with our goals. I’d rather use that energy to keep winning. Even if I’m not involved in the conflict, it’s draining to be within earshot.
I’ve known World Champions who tell NOBODY about their goals, preferring to keep all that energy for themselves (and avoid external distractions/expectations).
If you have an ambitious kid, spouse or peer… who follows the above strategy then respect it. While it might not seem like much to you, from the child’s point of view, many situations have high emotional stakes. These emotional stakes can become an unnecessary distraction.
There are different ways to surface goals:
Tell Myself Internally
Say Out Loud
Tell My Family
Publish Them On The Internet
At a minimum, I recommend you write them down.
For our meeting, we managed to tell each other AND everyone respected the other person’s goals.
The bottom goals (pic above) were Monica’s:
Bring Kindness To The House
Have A Strong Marriage
Provide Strong Food To Everyone
Living with tweens/teens is different than living in a marriage. Specifically, with respect to my wife’s #1 goal… More Kindness In The House.
A story to illustrate.
The hardest part of living with toddlers and preschoolers is what follows…
If we create a belief system where we need constant harmony/serenity then we are putting our “success” in the hands of the least mature person we encounter.
When the kids were little I found myself in this position. The difficulties of my situation were always with me… even when I was not at home.
I had placed my emotional fate in the hands of a toddler.
Having noticed this in myself, I was able to see it all around me.
In my family
On the internet
The resolution was three fold:
Stay Below My Limit - reduce my exposure to conflict, and difficulties inherent with living with others.
Focus On Not Being Part Of The Problem - when I’m past my limit, I am “the problem.”
Accept That Offering My Best Self Is All I Can Do - I can’t resolve the problem (because there is no problem, only my perception).
1-2-3 will transform your relationship with the world and cut the drama you experience in half.
As a family, we are fortunate. Our goals sit in harmony with each other.
I listen closely to what people say, particularly “in jest” and about themselves.
During our meeting there were beliefs expressed that have destroyed many, many relationships within our families.
These beliefs have broken apart marriages and caused multigenerational pain.
It’s Fun To Be Rude.
You’re Here To Serve Me.
Monica and I want nothing to do with these beliefs.
I made it clear to the kids that they need to change those beliefs if they want to have an adult relationship with me.
Because of time, we focused on the role of the parent. At an upcoming meeting, we will focus on the role of the kids.
The kids loved this part of the meeting. They got to tell us what we should do. They didn’t hold back.
From our end, in the picture, you’ll see versions of:
Unconditional Positive Regard
Shape The Environment
Set The Standard
Where my wife and I differ is application of these principles.
Having created the kids, literally, Monica’s positive regard feels deeper than mine. For her, it’s truly a cellular bond with the kids.
With myself, there’s an element of FAFO (F Around and Find Out). My loyalty is to Monica, the family and what I’m trying to get done overall.
This part of the meeting gave us a chance to clarify what didn’t fit with the kids’ stated goals.
Randomly Changing The Plan
Accept Whatever The Kids Dream Up
I made the point that helping someone in that manner wouldn’t be helping. They need to be ready to take care of themselves as adults.
From there, I extended the conversation into situations where we might need to say “no.” Addiction for example.
When the kids came back and said…
I will never…
I responded with examples of people who never expected to…
At this point, our 11 yo made a really smart observation…
But will you take care of me when I’m sick?
But will you love me even though I’m flawed?
An old soul that one…
Of course we will, Sweetie.
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