Child convincing argument

Why We Need to Teach our Children to Disagree Well

A recent Harvard Business Review article entitled “Why We Should Be Disagreeing More at Work” by Amy Gallo received 3500 + likes on LinkedIn and generated 1400 comments.  The focus of the article and the remarks center around the value of diverse opinions to stimulate learning and innovation. 

Wouldn’t you like your child to become a professional who contributes to progress and creativity in his or her workplace?!

Reality Check – Disagreement in “Real Life”

Here is what happens in many homes when kids disagree.  (And even at work too.  Replace the word “parent” with “boss”)

Many parents fear chaos.  Mutiny.  To be avoided at all cost.

And many parents respond with control.

Control anger and emotions.  Control kids’ behaviors.  Control oneself.

Yet underneath we feel out of control…and under increased pressure, we lose our temper.  We lose control.

Benefits of Disagreement

Gallo acknowledges similar tendencies in many workplaces and challenges managers to allow open communication, even disagreements, as they benefit the workplace through

  • Better solutions
  • Improved relationships
  • More sense of belonging
  • Greater happiness

Parents, wouldn’t YOU like a home with smarter solutions, stronger relationships, sense of belonging, and happiness? Of course!

An Every Day Example

Instead of a morning rush out the door with stress for everyone, your family morning routine became smooth and joyful THANKS to the challenges your child had in getting ready.

Before parent and child disagreed over the morning routine.  Mom wanted to get out fast.  Child dragged his feet.  The previous “solution” had been a nagging parent…which is no fun for anyone.

To open up communication regarding this disagreement, the family brainstormed ways to organize mornings more effectively.  The children came up with a wacky solution that they love and you, the parent, would not have imagined: “We want a fun wake-up song.  Can you sing “Happy Day” to the tune of “Happy Birthday” to us every morning?!”

And it works! Now, it’s a delight to leave home for school on time AND with a smile.  

The children feel so proud to have devised this new plan; they know their ideas are heard and valued. Home is a happier place…thanks to disagreement!

How to Make Disagreement Positive?

1. Start with…YOU

What is YOUR attitude?

Many parents consider disagreement to be a failure.

Let’s re-examine that.

Do you REALLY want your children to think exactly like you?  How will they be able to grow into positive contributors to society in an ever-changing environment?

Reframe

Try re-framing. CONGRATULATIONS!  Respectful disagreement means you have taught your child to think for himself!

Avoid Taking Disagreement Personally

Children are growing their roots and pushing boundaries.  It’s an essential part of their growing job.

Besides, there is something to learn from the children’s perspective.  Physically and literally they view the world from another angle.

What does your kitchen look like to a three-year-old who cannot reach the top of the counter?  She sees the loooong stretch of countertop and a glimpse of the sky when looking out the window.  You see the garden.

Looking out of window from below

Garden scene through window.

In the same way, you and your child will have differing views on sharing of toys, cleanliness of room, sex drugs and rock ‘n roll….

It is normal that different folk have a different perspective.  In the working world, this is the concept of collaboration with diversity.

YOU have been uniquely selected to teach your child how to thrive with diversity! 

Good news & bad news.  It’s a tremendous privilege AND you get to be the guinee pig as your children learn from their mistakes.

2. Connect (or re-connect) with THE OTHER

Seek the Beliefs behind the Disagreement

According to Psychiatrist Dr. Alfred Adler, every person has beliefs about himself, other people, and the world. Some of these beliefs may be beneficial while others may be harmful and/or erroneous.

Beliefs about Oneself

“I matter, no matter what.” ‘(Beneficial belief)

“I am only valuable when I do not make mistakes.  When I fail, I am worthless.”  (Belief of conditional value)

Beliefs about People

“________ (name any religion or political party) are fanatics.” (Belief of superiority)

“Parents want to control me.” (Non-collaborative belief)

“Mom/Dad says ‘No’ but does not mean it.” (Manipulative belief)

Beliefs about the World

“The world is a safe place.”

“There is no such thing as win-win. The strongest gets his way.”

 

A child who believes his parents want to control him will act differently from one who believes that home is a safe place.

For many of us, adults and children, these beliefs rest in our subconscious.  So how to identify them?

Want help identifying your child’s beliefs?  Give a quick coaching call.

Our emotions reveal our beliefs.  Our beliefs determine our actions.

One Family’s Story

“We had just given our son his first portable phone and had clearly reviewed the rules with him, the first of which was ‘When parents call, you answer.’

On several occasions our son would not return home directly after school and nor answer his phone.

On one evening I welcomed him back and asked to speak one-on-one.

Parent: “Hi sweetheart.  Did you know that your behavior talks?”

Child: “NO.  I speak with my words.  Deuh…” Instead of getting distracted by his disrespect, I pursued.

P: “Yes.  Your actions talk.  What do you think a tardy return with no response on your phone is saying?”

C: “Dunno.  You tell me.”

P: “Think, darling.  You’re smart.” Said kindly, yet seriously.  My son realized I expected an answer. 

Thoughtful silence.

I probed, “What does it say about the importance of your time with regard the to value of my time?”

C: “Well, I guess that my time is more important than yours.”

P: “Is that true?  How would you feel if someone treated your time as less valuable?”

C: “Well, I’d be annoyed, and I guess it’s not true that my time is more important,” my son admits with a sheepish grin.

We even enjoyed (!) the ensuing conversation about limits since we had connected and corrected some hurtful beliefs.”

Your child’s disagreement, in word and action, gives insight into his beliefs.

Seek to Understand the Others’ Perspectives

What if your child were making very intelligent decisions…from his perspective!

When above the kitchen counter one sees a ceiling which looks pretty safe, it is not surprising that children place their hands on the burning stove.

Create a Safe Space to Voice Disagreements

There is a time and a place to voice a differing opinion.  It’s not when rushing out the door and tension is high.

When there is no acceptable way to express differing viewpoints, disagreement can happen anywhere and anytime.  It sounds like argumentation, like picking a fight in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In the grocery store while parents are trying to rush three munchkins through the crowded aisles.  “I WANT_______.  You NEVER let me choose!” During dinner with the grandparents.  “Did dad ever ______ when he was a kid because he doesn’t let me do it.”

That’s why we love Family Meetings.  It’s a scheduled time to

  1. check in,
  2. resolve issues if needed, and
  3. have fun

Family council get together resolve issues

Family council get together with fun

A Family Meeting is a safe space for children (and parents) to voice their issues.  Knowing that the Family Meeting is coming up, provides resolution to many every-day crises.

When the kids fight (disagree) with over TV use, they can write it on the agenda of the Family Meeting.

When they don’t like veggies, they can bring it up at the Family Meeting.

With some structure to this short meeting (15 minutes a week), parents and children resolve disagreements together.  They can express their feelings about the incident, share their perspective, actively listen, and work together to find better solutions which make everyone happy and feel belonging.

Want help setting up a Family Meeting chez vous?  Set up a quick coaching call.

 

Set the Family GPS – Build a Positive 2018

RSVP workshopWhat’s your family culture?  Is it helping each of you thrive…at home, at school, and at work?

The Purpose – Set & Reach Family Goals

Create your Family GPS

  1. Specify the character qualities you wish to transmit to your children in the upcoming months
  2. Plan concrete action steps to reach that goal

For example:

Goals

To listen to each other

Actions

  • To use a talking stick so we don’t interrupt
    or
  • To spend 5 minutes in Conversation Time after dinner

To do our best in work

  • To brainstorm solutions together at Challenge Share on Saturday mornings.  Parents can also share a difficulty.
    or
  • To have Reading Time for everyone, 30 minutes after lunch on Sundays.

 

The Process

Timing – New Year

We can set goals anytime…and yet research shows that goals set at New Year’s are more likely to be kept!  The beginning of the year marks one of the moments for pause, reflection, and new beginnings.

Let’s do it!

Tools – Positive Discipline inspired activities & tools

Through group activities, we help set a family GPS: identify our current situation and set a destination for growth in 2018.

The process is FUN with lots of group interaction, brainstorming and even role playing.

Once the goals set, we explore numerous relationship strengthening tools to apply in the family context to help turn these family aspirations into achievable, realistic, AND enjoyable objectives.

Facilitator – Denise Dampierre

The workshop is led by Denise Dampierre who brings expertise from

  • Harvard Business School – leadership development concepts made family-friendly
  • Positive Discipline – an approach to building collaboration and respect-filled relationships
  • Appreciative Inquiry – inclusive change management which builds on strengths
  • Mother of 4 boys – practical experience tried and tested in with 4 boys withing 7 years

The Specifics

When – Thursday, January 25 from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Where – 65, quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris.  In the American Church in Paris, room G4

How much – 25€ per person

R.S.V.P.

 

SoSooper 3rd place HBS NVC

SoSooper did super in Harvard Business School New Venture Competition

SoSooper was honored to be selected finalist in the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition for Europe & Israel.

For this global entrepreneurial contest open to HBS alumni, our zone was the most competitive:  there were 26 contestants for 5 finalist spots to pitch to a jury and close to 100 investors.  I had almost not submitted our application because we are just launching our prototype and most companies would already be generating revenues.

SoSooper was invited among the pitchers!

We had 8 minutes to share our story, our value, our success, and our dreams.  Followed by 6 minutes of questions from judges and the crowd…mostly grey-suited men sprinkled with a dozen women.  The ideal audience for a parenting app?!

 

Harvard Business School New Venture Competition Europe
HBS NVC jury and contestants in Paris.

What a THRILL to defend my passion and to present a business plan that benefits parents, parenting professionals, and investors.

SoSooper came in 3rd place…quite awesome considering that we were the only company without a commercialized product and without revenues.  It means these seasoned business folk wish us

prosperity

courage

&

luck!

 

Enjoy the official video.

Harvard Business School New Venture Competition

SoSooper is a finalist in Harvard Business School NVC Europe

Sooper Exciting News

Our mobile app for parents has been selected as a finalist in the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition Europe!  There were 26 contestants for 5 places.  We made the cut!

We will be pitching to 100+ business folk about being the best parent we can be.

We are honored to be present, knowing that the discussion will cover both business issues (how will we generate income) as well a matters touching our ingrained beliefs:

  • Are “good parents” born or can leadership in our homes be learned?
  • How to accompany parents AND allow freedom to create their own, unique family culture?

As my sister says, “Exciting, invigorating, intimidating, energizing, challenging, exhilarating.”

Many thanks to all who support me so well.

SoSooper is finalist for HBS NVC
European finalists for 2017 HBS NVC Europe

The Story behind SoSooper

A Mom in Need

As a young mom seeking help to manage four boys under seven years old I wondered:

“Folk can go to a bank or a financial counselor and expose very private information regarding money and request advice and this is conisdered intelligent.

Those same people seek advice regarding relationships…and they have a problem.

Humm. I hope someone will do something to remedy this discrepancy.”

And, today, maybe that someone is…me.

Insights from Cosmetics

When I worked in cosmetics, one brand introduced beauty advice on an iPad.  Customers appreciated the anonimity of these tools.

They found it more pleasant to admit skin problems to a machine than to a  made-up beauty who agrees you have blackheads on your nose!

Might the same be true with personal issues?

A New Child

SoSooper, my fifth child, is born. This mobile app helps parents navigate – positively and quickly – challenges with kids.

  • Provides parents with solutions for their Need. NOW.
  • Connects parents with parenting experts and other moms and dads like them
  • Is available on their phone.  Anytime & anywhere.

Read more.

Boy on swing set

Build a Thriving Family Culture

Games are fun.  AND they have a purpose & rules.

What if life–and the culture of our families–were like a game:  

  • fun
  • with a purpose
  • with clear guidelines to know how to excel, to be one’s best together 🙂

Life’s BIG rules are called values.  These foundational principles express an understanding of right & wrong, of helpful vs. harmful.  Communities, like family, thrive with positive and common values.

Families enjoy a culture where everyone thrives when “the way WE do things” is clear, helpful, and practiced by all.

The BUILD A THRIVING FAMILY CULTURE web-workshop enables parents & children, together, BOTH to identify the essential guiding principles for their home AND to put them into action.

What You Gain

Join us as we guide parents & kids in making family life fun, purpose-filled, and a means for all to thrive.  We’ll help you

  • Identify your top KEY VALUES
  • Explore how these principles translate into action
  • Create a personalized and visual reminder to keep practicing those values at home.
Family values tree
Family culture is alive, growing, and fruitful…like trees. Hospitality with family means taking turns…

 

What is it?

It’s ½ hour of time well spent in rich parent-child discussion.   This is an online event for parents with their children. You connect through the Internet from the comfort of your couch and cuddle up with your kids.  We guide you in a family discussion and a simple craft.

With SOSOOPER Web-Workshops

– Moms and dads establish a framework .
– Kids get heard.
– Everyone wins.

With whom? How?  When? How much?

Our online seminars are for parents AND their children.  These facilitated family discussions are led by Denise Dampierre, founder and CEO of SoSooper where we re-open dialogue between parents & kids.

  • Schedule an online seminar just for your family. Send your request and date preferences.  We’ll work it out.  Personalized seminars run $40 per ½ hour.
  • Contact us to ask about group online seminar.  See our Calendar for upcoming dates.  Participation to be discussed.

Sign up on the SoSooper App for our Build a Thriving Family Culture online seminar to create a family culture where everyone thrives.

What folks say
‘Build a Thriving Family Culture’ is SOSOOPER!

From Sabrina – “New Thoughts”

This is Sabrina here!
I enjoyed the activities a lot!   Our family chose ‘Respect” as main value.   The workshop made me really think about how I should be respectful at different times of the day. I never really thought about the different ways thoroughly.
Thank you for that!

From Naomi – “You mean values lead to actions!!!”

Thank you so much for organizing the activities for us! I found that they really made me think about family values and how i can put them into action. I also found it interesting to hear what my mother, little sister and I thought about the different ways we could be respectful and at different times. The activities made me think about values and respect from a different and deeper perspective!
Thanks.

From Nina – “Such positive mother-daughter talk :)”

Dear Denise,

A gigantic and heartfelt thank-you for last evening’s web workshop! As you must have read between the lines in their respective emails, Naomi and Sabrina were completely and pleasantly surprised as they had barely any clue of what to expect although we had printed out the worksheets together.

What was amazing was how all three of us focused on respect amongst all the values – maybe it was the fact that we keep stressing on the need for this or the fact that we often tend to lose track of it amidst our daily stresses and hectic routines. It was instant agreement on the prized value.

The girls are both committed participants now and you must have received their feedback forms already! Thank you so much for also replying to them instantly and giving them so much encouragement. You are absolutely right in advising us to keep trying even if we stumble and rise again.

I think the big change is that we are learning to remove ourselves from the situation and are learning to view it objectively from various angles. Taking a cue from you, we have also been trying to role play to learn more about our feelings, thoughts and actions!

Thank you again, Denise, for becoming a part of our family life on a day-to-day basis!

 

Cover Photo by Myles Tan on Unsplash