Did You Just Roadblock Me??

Perhaps you’ve heard of the “Communication Roadblocks”. Did you know that our founder, Dr. Thomas Gordon, created them? They are often found in other training programs. They were born here at Gordon Training International and here are the “Dirty Dozen” as Dr. Tom referred to them:

parenting parent skills training how to communicateThese responses are called Roadblocks to Communication because they block the flow of communication from the troubled person.

•  Some of the Roadblocks are solutions which suggest that the child is not smart enough to come up with his/her own solution, but is dependent on the parent.

•  Some Roadblocks discount the feelings of the child or tell the child s/he is stupid or bad.

•  Roadblocks which question and probe take the responsibility for the solution away from the child and suggest that when the parent has all the data, the parent will provide the solution.

•  Other Roadblocks are judgmental. They send the message that the child is wrong.

•  Roadblocks which divert only try to cover up the problem or send the message that the problem is not worthy of discussion.

•  Professional counselors are taught to avoid the Roadblocks because they are often considered “destructive” rather than “therapeutic.”

•  Roadblocks communicate a desire to change the child and un-acceptance of the way the child is at the moment.

•  Roadblocks often cause the child to stop talking.

•  Roadblocks take responsibility for solving the problem away from the other person. (“I don’t think you are capable of handling your problem, so let me take over.”)

These 12 messages are Roadblocks to communication when the child owns a problem. When used in the No Problem Area many of these messages (e.g. advising, questioning) seldom act as Roadblocks and can be used without causing any problems.

Others (e.g. name calling, ridiculing) are almost never appropriate and run the risk of creating a problem in the child (e.g. hurt feelings, worry, fear).

These 12 messages are Roadblocks to communication when the child owns a problem. When used in the No Problem Area many of these messages (e.g. advising, questioning) seldom act as Roadblocks and can be used without causing any problems.

Others (e.g. name calling, ridiculing) are almost never appropriate and run the risk of creating a problem in the child (e.g. hurt feelings, worry, fear).

A Special Note About Questions

For many parents asking questions is the response they have the most difficulty accepting as a roadblock and many of us have actually been taught to ask questions as a way of helping others when they have a problem.

When you ask a child (or an adult) a question such as “Why are you confused?” The child has to stop and ask herself; “Do I know the answer?” If the child is unsure or does not know, it blocks her from continuing or at least provides a distraction.

When you ask a question, the other person has to ask herself; “Do I want to tell the answer?” This is a particular issue with teenagers who are often reluctant to answer questions from their parents or don’t want to appear to be stupid or not in control, i.e. “Do I really want to admit to my parent that I don’t know something – that in fact I am confused?”

Would you like to learn what to use instead of Roadblocks? Contact me for more information on our parenting classes or how to receive free parenting tips via our monthly email service, “The Family Connection”: lance.johnson@gordontraining.com

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