Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why Leading with Empathy Works

Becoming a Love and Logic Parent
New Class Starts Feb. 21
5:30-7:30 PM, 7 weeks
On the Campus of
Zion Lutheran Church & School
w/ Club 66 Programming for Children 

I know I keep coming back to empathy but really - it's magic!  It can improve your relationship with your small children, with adult children, with your spouse, with co-workers, with your in-laws.  Here's how it works.

1.  When someone is angry or frustrated they are in an emotional state of stress that takes brain activity to the brain stem.  The brain stem is reactive.  It deals with "fight or flight."  Brain stem mode is a bad place to be when two human beings need to communicate.

2.  Training yourself to lead with SINCERE empathy in stressful situations actually triggers your brain and the other person's brain into moving thought from the brain stem to the frontal lobe.  That's where problem solving and rational thought take place.

3.  Getting into he habit of using one empathetic phrase makes this whole process easier because you (the person in control of their own brain) are less likely to engage the other person in a battle of wits or words that will only escalate "fight or flight."   My favorite is a simple, "Oh Man!"  but almost any neutral phrase will work if it is said with sincere empathy.

4.  Don't even let yourself go to sarcasm. Stop.  I know!  Just don't do it!

5.  Once everyone is in their frontal lobes then other skills from Love and Logic can kick in like... 
  • Helping others solve their own problems
  • Delaying the consequences
  • Going brain dead
(There are posts in the archive on all of these)

Happy Valentine's Day!

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