3 Simple Ways to communicate clearly and overcome misunderstandings

It was like every other Sunday morning. Mom was out for her Yoga class. The boys me and my 4 year old woke up and excitedly made plans to make French Toast. I put the ingredients into a bowl, my boy mixed it, I toasted it and we sat down to eat breakfast.

What does Stupid mean daddy?

I was just glad he asked! The night before was something unusual. He was upset about us cleaning his toys that he wanted to leave on the floor. That turned into tantrums and he called us Stupid. Both me and my wife were upset and he received a time out. We both spoke our mind off to him. We were both startled, upset, and even chatted about how his tantrums/vocabulary and so on.

Back to the breakfast, I told him he shouldn’t know the meaning of the word but just know not to use it ever again on anyone. He then told me back “Daddy — how would I know why is it a bad word and if someone tells me or if I read it in a book then how would I know why are they saying it.”

I paused for a second then I explained to him that it meant a rather rude way of telling someone they had no brain. He said “Daddy — how could that be then the person cannot think”. I told him exactly and we reflected on why that could be a bad thing. He then told me he would never say it again and if someone used it then he would tell the closest elderly person.

What does No, I don’t care, and Whatever mean daddy?

It so happens that he is learning to read by himself. In one of the Dr. Seuss books, there was this phrase “I don’t care”. He had contextualized it and started to use it in a “reckless” way. He never meant it. Similarly, he had picked up “Whatever” from “I will do whatever mommy and daddy asked me to do” and started contextually positioning it in a “nonchalant” way.

As we talked through it, he came to the rightful conclusion of it is okay to use the words or phrases when in a Rainbow but not by themselves. The Rainbow he referred to was a Sentence (or) Context. Rainbow just meant all things good for him.

Hugs and Kisses to make up

I was just humbled.

Understanding the other person’s vantage — I always say this in most coaching discussions (or) crisis (or) conflict situations. Have you spent the time to understand the point of view from the other person’s vantage and has the other person expressed it. Here my four year old, just taught me see a rainbow.

Get to the root cause — The root cause wasn’t parenting, it wasn’t his social circle, and it wasn’t any complicated thing. It was him learning the language, learning to read, learning to understand, and applying his learning in the social constructs.

Communication can be simple-just talk it out — In most coaching situations, I have found that sitting down calmly and talking it out solved the misunderstanding. Going into sleep last night, he knew what upset us and we went to sleep over engineering the entire thing. It was a simple conversation.


I will leave you with this thought. Call that one person with whom you have a misunderstanding or you are upset and letting your adulthood come in the way and simply see the Rainbow together.

Image Credit: https://stocksnap.io/photo/RT79G3JOOU

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