Rules of Engagement: Interpersonal Skills in Times of Stress

As the school year is coming to a close, students are facing big projects and exams. With the added stress of different end of year events, your child may show signs of distress. Your child may seek isolation in their private spaces, might be more argumentative, and at times, be defiant. Although these are frustrating reactions, there are ways to still use interpersonal skills to understand each other. When an argument arises, use these steps to help create a more positive interaction.

  1. Time Out – If emotions are escalated, take a time out to get into a better mindset.
  2. Kind Words – Do not make the other person feel bad when there is a disagreement.
  3. “I”-Statements – Communicate effectively by using I-Statements. I-Statements allow for one to take ownership of their thoughts and feelings.
  4. Active Ears – Active listening is key to understand the other person. Listening is essential for communication. If there is a time that understanding is not achieved, write it down, because on occasion, a person may need to see the information to process it properly.
  5. Time and Space – For purposeful interactions, self-regulate when you are communicating. If it seems that communication is not effective, re-evaluate if the subject should be changed and then revisited at a later time.
  6. Common Ground – Know when and how to compromise. A positive interpersonal skill is to know when to compromise to reach the ultimate goal.
  7. Pre-Game – Please review the school’s communications. The exam and project schedule has been published. By using this schedule, students can help plan their study times and be prepared for the end of year events. Also, knowing the events to come, allows giving additional time to focus, as well as space to review, and prepare to meet each of the expectations for each class.

To get more information on your Pre-Teens, Early Teens, and Older Teens, visit www.teenhealth.org to find more information on communication and health needs. 

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