(1) You don't need
anyone's permission to answer what is true for you. These are your answers. But,
try to be careful regarding your answers. Other family members will be trying
to remember what you said so that they can better understand you and treat you
(2) No arguing, criticizing, or objecting.
People hate to be criticized about things they say. They know what they think
and feel, and they consider it absurd and insensitive if others think they know
these things better.
(3) Listen in order to understand
the other person, not to change him or her.
lots of questions (usually "why?" and "what do you mean?") to clarify what is
being communicated. Other clarifying questions can be: What? What for? How? When?
How come? Where? In what way? Can you explain? Please tell me more.
Refrain from giving advice or breaking in with your own thoughts or feelings on
the subject. When the other person is through – can no longer answer any more
questions or you can think of no more – you can ask permission to share your feelings
and thoughts about the subject. (But, not about how the other person said things!)
(6) Let people be themselves, even if they give an
answer that you do not agree with or like. Instead of objecting or offering criticism,
ask the other persons "Why" questions. This will help you clarify what they are
saying, what they think and feel about things, and who they are. Other people
will appreciate your efforts to understand them.
Avoid conflict over answers. There are no "right" or "wrong" answers. There is
just what a person says. It is not very appreciated if you know about a person
without talking it over with him or her. On the other hand, you get a lot of appreciation
for asking and learning about another person – from his or her own words.
Solve problems only after much dialogue has produced deeper understanding. Dialogue
will expose some differences that might have to be solved. Make a note of those
you think might need some discussion and problem-solving – to do later. But, during
the time of dialogue, do not bring up problems.