Subject: Second Response to Letter from the Bear Family
Dear Mama Bear:
Mama Bear, I have a question for you. How much effort have you and Papa Bear put into the listening/learning/loving exercise I outlined last week? Papa Bear offered some comments (below) that indicate the two of you may need to erase a lot of old habits of second-guessing each other, reading minds, and silence! Building new, productive communication skills may take weeks, even months. Nevertheless, carry on!
When you feel confident in the listening/learning/loving “triple whammy” style of communication, then please consider what I offer as next steps for the Bear family.
Mama Bear, you are the keystone for change in the relationship with Grown-Up Cub. No matter how you cut it, you must be the person to make the approach and the offer. What do I mean by “approach and offer?”
First, approach Grown-Up Cub by calling her and inviting her to do something with you, just the two of you. Make it something you know she values, adores, etc. Arrange the time together so you have the opportunity to talk.
Practice ahead of the meeting the way you will present your offer to Grown-Up Cub. Your offer will be to listen to Grown-Up Cub. I’m not kidding. It is that simple. Tell her straight out that you want to listen to what she has to say. AND you will keep your promise that you will avoid comments that are critical, judgmental, or negative. AND, when Grown-Up Cub gets to the point, over time, of ASKING for your opinion, you will remember to respond with loving, kind, positive words.
Mama Bear, you know that the mother/daughter bond runs deep and strong. You already have a beautiful bond with your youngest cub. But somehow, that bond with Grown-Up Cub is less developed or perhaps broken. You and Grown-Up Cub will have to dig through years of prior misconceptions about each other in order to strengthen your bond. The two of you will need many get-togethers using the triple whammy technique.
You love Grown-Up Cub and your goal is to gradually develop a TRUSTING relationship with her. You WILL succeed.
Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: The triple whammy (listen/learn/love) hits a home run!