I Disagree! 6 Civil Conversation Skills for Kids, Teens & Families by DoingGoodTogether

I Disagree! 6 Civil Conversation Skills for Kids, Teens & Families

Too often, we avoid talking about issues we really care about. At Doing Good Together we believe that facing disagreements with heart and curiosity is a crucial skill to teach our children and ourselves. In this age of divisiveness, strong communication skills are critical. Here are some skills to practice as a family:

  • Begin with respect. Establish mutual respect before beginning a potentially divisive discussion. As in, "I respect how you (treat others, volunteer, coach, etc.), and I'm curious what you think about (the issue you'd like to get into).” 
  • Speak from the heart. Steer your conversation toward personal experience, rather than learned talking points. 
  • Listen to understand. Resist the urge to interrupt. And ask more questions: "What do you think would happen if…?" Or, "How would you solve this problem?" or "Tell me more about that." 
  • Get used to being wrong. And be willing to admit it. 
  • Don’t be afraid to disagree. Be an “upstander” for your ideals. 
  • Practice conversational empathy. Give those you are talking to the benefit of the doubt. Assume they are being honest and have good intentions. 

Visit Doing Good Together for more practical strategies to bring these tips to life.

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Elisa Schmitz
"Practice conversational empathy." I love this! Thank you for the great tips, DoingGoodTogether !
Bri Montoya
Such great skills to learn and teach. I'm especially fond of "listen to understand" - it can be such an underrated practice!
Cindy Hlywa
This tip is amazing - I appreciate all parts of it.
Elisa Schmitz
Agreed, Bri Montoya and Cindy Hlywa ! I love "conversational empathy," too. This post is filled with great learnings. DoingGoodTogether Sarah Aadland
Thanks! It's so important to get kids talking about big ideas!

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