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Road Blocks to Effective Communication

— Advocates For Youth
Updated on Feb 17, 2011

Road Block

Definition

Example(s)

Situation

Adult Response

VERBAL:

1. Judging

Making a judgment

1) You should … and 2) You ought to …

Mom, I'm not sure what to do about my class schedule this year. It's really tough with all the extras I've got to do.

You should take every math and science course offered. You ought to see how important that is.

2. Rejecting

Giving no support

It's your problem, not mine.

Dad, that boy just took my truck.

It's your problem. You solve it.

3. Blaming, Criticizing

Placing fault on the other person

It's your fault.

Mom, the jar of glue just fell over on the floor.

Look what you did! The carpet is ruined! It's all your fault!

4. Labeling

Calling negative names or words that are negative

Only a dummy would do it that way.

Your 8-year-old got dressed for school—orange and blue shirt, green and yellow striped pants, red socks, sandals, and a baseball hat.

Only a clown would dress like that for school!

5. Transferring

Not listening and jumping in with one's own problems

Let me tell what happened to me.

Dad, it's not my fault my math teacher hates me.

Let me tell you about my boss. You think you've got trouble!

6. Ordering

Giving solutions with no choices

You must do this now.

I think I'll go to the movies tonight Mom.

You will not. You're going to stay home and study. You're going to bring your grades up.

7. Threatening, Bribing

Using threats or bribes to try to make someone do something

1) If you don't do what I want … and 2) If you do what I want, I do this for you.

But Dad, it's the last night for "Star Wars," and I haven't seen it.

If you don't study, there will be no car this weekend.

8. Waffling

Not being clear and consistent in setting limits

1) Well, maybe …, 2) We'll see …, and 3) I'll think about it …

Mom, I really need to know if I can go to the concert on Saturday night.

We'll see—I'll think about it.

9. Nagging

Persistently repeating orders or requests

1) I've told you a thousand times … and 2) How many times do I have to ask you to …

I'll pick up the puzzle later Dad.

I'm not going to tell you again. I've told you ten times to pick it up. Now!

NONVERBAL:

10. Acting

Using body language that sends negative messages or that rebuffs; being physically abusive

1) Crossing arms, 2) Not looking at speaker, 3) Walking away, 4) Tapping feet, 5) Shaking finger in face, 6) Hitting, and 7) Kicking.

Your child comes home from school, slams the door shut, drops his/her clothes on the floor, kicks the cabinet, and turns on the TV.

You frown, cross your arms, tap your foot, and stand in front of your child.

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