One of the quickest ways to ‘kill’ a relationship is to utter these three words: “I understand but…”
To say that you understand how another feels, thinks or perceives and to follow it with an immediate ‘but’ is to erase any of the connections that come from understanding.
A true desire to understand another person’s perceptions, beliefs or emotions is to say, “I understand and…” The ‘and’ can be followed with “I wonder”, “I’m thinking”, “I’m open to…”
These words create the intention to really understand, to keep the dialogue going, to continue to connect as you invite an honest relationship of mutual respect and cooperation.
Many parents have become robotic in our responses of “I understand but…”
Instead of opening our hearts and listening to the pain or struggle of another, we rush into defending our own behavior or desire to fix things up with advice.
When your hear yourself saying, “I hear you but…” or “Yes, but…” stop and rewind and start again. Your willingness to do so has the potential to change your relationships with your kids, and everyone else as well.