Day 3: Creating a Safe Space (Part II)

20 days to better relationships.jpg
safe space for communication

Yesterday we talked about the importance of creating a safe space and how to lay the groundwork for creating such a space. Today we will finish our conversation around this. Let’s dive right into the final steps…

Set ground rules:
Nothing you say is stupid. This is an example of a ground rule for a conversation that takes place in a safe space. This is a pretty good general rule, because nothing anyone says is stupid. All of our thoughts come with an emotion and some meaning attached to it. It was said to accomplish a purpose. Whether you are a parent or a spouse having a discussion, your job is to figure out that purpose and deal with that issue. The rude comment often comes to disguise a heart that is hurting.

Model:
Model appropriate responses for your children. Participate and uphold the rules you/your family set in place. These are not just a set of guidelines to keep the other person in line. The guidelines are to keep you both in line. You might say, “Ok hold on Seida. I’m the parent! I don’t need to be kept in line!” I beg to differ.

If you are interested in maintaining the lines of communication with your teen filtering your reactions and responses is the best way to do it. When children don’t think they can trust you in their vulnerable state, they will not allow you to see that part of them….even if you are their parent. If you have reached the heart of your child’s teenage years, then you know forcing your child to do things you want them to doesn’t always end up how you saw it in your mind originally.

Be honest:
Ok - let’s say you’ve gotten through all of the previous steps and (insert name) just laid a major bomb on you. Don’t panic! It’s ok to say you need a moment or you’re struggling to process what they just told you. It’s ok to say you don’t know the answer to a very difficult question about death or dying. It’s ok to feel how you want to feel. The more you are honest with yourself and with the person, the higher value you place on the relationship. Why? Because you are allowing yourself to become vulnerable, which in turn reveals allows the relationship to flourish.

Practice:
The process of creating a safe space doesn’t come naturally. We see messages everywhere that teach us to be selfish, to hide who we are and to portray the image of perfection at all times. Breaking this cycle is not easy. It takes time to build a space where we become comfortable talking to each other without our “layers.” The more you practice talking in this format and listening intentionally, the better your results after these conversations. Better results means better relationships.

Value the space:
Treat the space as a sacred space. Your safe space could be a physical room where you have conversations or it could be keeping the agreed upon rules in mind when the code word is delivered. Physical spaces work best for children and teens, because they know what to expect when they arrive in this space. They will hold the space to a higher value the more they have tough conversations in this area. A physical space allows our minds to unconsciously recall things, memories and feelings that occurred in that space. This ultimately helps us to maintain the same frame of mind each time we have conversations there.

For adult relationships, I would also recommend a physical space for conversations as you are getting used to the process. Once you feel you have mastered the process, you may want to just keep the expectations in mind.However if you feel you aren’t sticking with it, don’t be afraid to go back to the physical space.

I hope these tips help you as you begin to create your space! Perhaps you already have something similar in place at your house. I would love to hear how you created your safe space or even tips for how your family handles tough conversations!

Tomorrow’s post: When the Honeymoon Ends: Tips for a Healthy Marriage
 

                                                                       COMING SOON!!!!!

                                                                       COMING SOON!!!!!