On this week’s edition of Soaring Child, we’re joined by Dr. Sarah Salzman, a leading couple psychologist and founder and CEO of the Couples Communication Institute, dedicated to helping couples achieve lasting closeness and intimacy through effective communication.
Having a child with ADHD can put a lot of pressure on any marriage, so it’s important to communicate in a way that stays safe and calm for both partners. Often ADHD kids are in a fight or flight mode, but that doesn’t mean that parents have to go there too.
So what tools are effective in healthy communication? Before you begin to communicate with your partner, make sure they’re in a space where they can’t be interrupted and are ready to listen. Think through what you want to talk about beforehand, and limit it to one thing. Then determine how you feel about it inside, what your goal is for the conversation, and the best place and time to have the conversation. Check in with your partner if that time and place is good for them too.
Think of something you appreciate about your partner that’s connected to your goal. Be sure to engage in active listening and repeat what the other person is saying to confirm you’re hearing each other and to validate what they’re saying.
The bottom line is to feel seen, heard, and understood by your partner and for them to feel the same way. Even in disagreement, you need to honor each other’s values in reaching a decision or compromise.