Anyone raising teenagers knows the challenge of overcoming opposing viewpoints. They want things one way, but you have rules which say they have to be another. Sometimes it can feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall. Why does she insist on wearing shoes without socks in the winter? Why does he consistently come home 10 minutes later than he was supposed to? What is behind her failing grades or his bad attitude? Likewise, they probably view your rules as restrictive and think you just don’t understand what it’s like to be in their shoes (even if they aren’t wearing socks).
I recently learned about a concept that has helped me to work through opposing viewpoints whether with my teenagers or my mechanic. It’s called dialectical thinking. Using this concept allows you to see both sides of the situation.
For example, let’s say your teenager hates math class. Even though they might be rooted in this thinking, they still must pass the class. So, they have to study, in spite of the fact that they don’t want to. To remove the confrontational “all-or-nothing” feeling that comes with situations like this, dialectical thinking uses the word “and” rather than the word “but.” “And” is the bridge between opposing viewpoints. It allows them to both exist; to both be valid.
Validation of Opposing Viewpoints
Two people can be right, even when they have opposing viewpoints. To remove the win-lose dynamic that often arises in situations like this, it’s important to recognize that you both have valid viewpoints. It’s okay if Jonny doesn’t like math. Lots of people feel the same way. Jonny doesn’t have to like math. He still has to pass the class. It’s a requirement to graduate. So, Jonny hates math AND he still has to do it. Simply validating Jonny’s feelings lets him feel heard and understood. That alone can help ease the tensions that arise with opposing viewpoints.
Dialectical Thinking and Writing
One thing that is really hard for me as a self-published author is formatting my book when it is time to go to print. At one point I tossed my manuscript for Facing Cancer as a Parent in the garbage because I was so frustrated with formatting issues. I had to take a few breaths and say, “I need to get this book published AND formatting is part of that AND I will somehow get through it.” Thankfully, I did.
I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ideas for “Thinking Creatively.” I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will focus on “Avoiding Burnout.” I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is O is for Consider Opposing Viewpoints.
Apparently, Albert Einstein was able to imagine an object both in motion and at rest at the same time. Being able to hold paradoxes shifts you from an “either/or” mindset to a “both/and” mentality. This blows open the creative spectrum from which fresh ideas can emerge. So consider a challenge you’re facing.
- What is the “norm?”
- What is the opposite of this?
- How could both hold true?
- What new ideas does this spark?
How can you see dialectical thinking helping you?
What Are YOUR Thoughts?
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I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:
I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.