Have you ever had trouble telling friends and family what you need? Have you ever lost sight of your own needs as you’ve tried to meet others’ expectations? It can be hard to navigate. The DEAR MAN strategy below can help you ask for something from someone, resolve conflict and say no when you need to, all while keeping good relationships.
Assertive communication skills (based on Interpersonal Competence Skills from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy)
Describe: Describe the situation in a simple way. Stick to the facts.
Express: Express your feeling using “I” statements. “I feel…” or “I would like…”. Stay away from “you should…”
Assert: Ask for what you want or say “no” clearly. Be direct. Remember, the other person cannot read your mind.
Reinforce: Reinforce what is in it for the other person. Explain how getting what you want can be positive for your relationship and/or for the other person.
Mindful: Keep your focus on the present issue. Don’t bring up past events and avoid going on a rant. Ignore distractions. If the person starts acting defensive, try to keep the conversation on topic.
Appear Confident: Stand or sit up straight. Make eye contact. Use a confident tone of voice.
Negotiate: You might need to change your request to make it more appealing to the other person. Ask for the other person’s input and try to resolve the problem together, finding a solution that works for both of you.
Can’t remember DEAR MAN? Want to use it with younger kids? Try this shortened version of assertive communication skills to help set boundaries.
WIN Formula for Communication
W – When You:
- Briefly describe the situation you want to discuss
I – I Feel:
- Use I messages to explain how it made you feel
N – I Need:
- Set a clear boundary. What do you need from the person.
When we communicate clearly, we all win!
Check out these resources to learn more:
- Understanding and Preventing Eating Disorders (Adult Workshop)
- Nurturing Empathy in Our Children (Parenting Workshop)
- Navigating Society’s Pressures Around Eating, Exercise and Health (Youth Workshop)
- What is Mindfulness? (Adult Workshop)
- Be You! (2SLGBTQ+ Support Group)
- Helping Teens Conquer Anxiety (Adult Workshop)
Lunch & Learns for Caregivers with WRDSB Psychology Department
Wednesdays from 12:15 to 12:45 pm
- Meeting ID: 544 193 0058
- Password: WRDSB
February 16: Mindfulness – Living in the Present Moment
February 23: Secrets of Reinforcement: Your Parenting Gold Star!
March 2: Self-Compassion – Good for Parents, Good for the Kids
Need Some Help?
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Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or text “CONNECT” to 686868
Front Door: 519 749 2932, and press “1”
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