Every Child Knows

Couple shoutingEvery parent knows that dealing with other human beings is not always smooth. We find ourselves interacting with different people all the time, with a wide variety of communication styles, values, beliefs and perspectives. That diversity can cause all kinds of misunderstandings, awkward moments and sometimes even serious friction.

Yet much of the time, most people operate under the assumption that “every child knows” what they know, that what seems clear and simple to them is as clear and simple to others. In fact, it is not the differences between us and the other people that create the friction, it is our expectation that they can see our point of view.

The TV series Lie to Me has brought the interpretation of facial expressions and body language into our living room, but unless you have developed these skills with a lot of supervised practice, it is likely that you can read what someone else is feeling correctly as often as not. If your partner walks in the door looking upset, are they sorry they are late, did they have a flat tire, did they get fired or did they just step in something unpleasant? It is hard to tell.

Here is an example.

John gets fires from work. He is so upset he cannot speak and decides to wait until the kids have gone to bed before sharing the bad news with Betty. Not knowing what has happened, Betty casually asks him if he can pick something up on his way back from work tomorrow.

John explodes.

Betty has no idea what just happened.

Read more about how to avoid relationship conflicts


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