By: Hollie Kowalski
Encompass Outreach Coordinator
Oh, how I love this boy. My son Dominik has his mother’s…well, everything. He is the most like me out of my four kids. The poor kid got my need for control, independence, my stubbornness, sensitivity, and poor math skills. But he also got my big heart, my passionate, charismatic personality, my drive, determination, and eyes that tend to see the best in people. The two of us stick together like glue…until we don’t. Due to our passionate and sensitive nature, if we don’t agree on an issue, our home becomes a battleground and unfortunately the innocent bystanders, known as our family, get drawn into battle as well.
When emotions run high as they often do in a disagreement, communication is generally unsuccessful. In the early part of Dom’s teenage years, during a disagreement, he got used to getting heated, blowing up, and shutting down. I got used to ending our disagreements feeling frustrated, disappointed, and disconnected. Additionally, I felt as if I was failing him as a mom in the communication department. I wanted so badly to understand why he felt “his way” and wanted him to see things from my point of view too!
I joke about coming to work at Encompass for my “coaching sessions,” but it’s so true. As I was having a conversation with Abby, our community advocate/relationship coach, about Dom and I she suggested taking a “time out,” at the beginning of the disagreement (before things get too heated,) so we could come back to the discussion later with the ability to see the issue from a different perspective and communicate more clearly. While this sounds like common sense and easy to implement- It’s certainly NOT easy in the moment! It takes willpower and dedication.
After a few failed attempts and lots of practice, I have to say that Dom has all but mastered the “time out,” technique. In his late teens now and maturing at a rapid pace, sometimes HE’S the one to say, “Mom, I think we need to walk away from this discussion for a while.” Whether it’s a nap (Dom’s preference,) a relaxing bath, a nice long walk, or just some solitude and fresh air, take a time out! It will clear your mind and often help you to see things in a whole new perspective! Keep in mind, this technique works in any relationship along with these perspective changing tools: getting enough sleep, working out, surrounding yourself with positive people, journaling about the thing that is bothering you, and of course, praying for an open mind, positive attitude, and the ability to see things from others’ perspectives!
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.