Deaf Mom Learns Strategy to Talk to Teen with Super Nanny

When a mother who is Deaf has difficulty communicating with her daughter, Super Nanny Jo Frost teaches her a strategy that gets communication rolling–validation.

When at first her daughter yells at her and storms out, Frost tells the mother that her daughter needs to communicate freely and be responded to so that she feels validated.

What is validation?

Psychology Today addressed this topic in a parenting article, “Reflect, Validate, Repeat as Necessary.” The title presents the steps of effective listening, which validates the other person’s needs: reflect (after receiving their communication), validate, repeat.

According to the article, “Validating someone’s thoughts or emotions involves accepting that what they have said is valid for them, even if we do not agree with them. So, it involves focusing on the emotional content of a statement or conversation and reflecting that, rather than the details.”

Whether the parent is Deaf or hearing, sometimes paying attention to incorrect, shocking, or accusatory statements from a teen can be a challenge, but Super Nanny US hits upon a key validation point. Agreement isn’t necessary, but allowing the other person to communicate their needs and letting them know you understand their what they’re saying is.

On the Super Nanny US segment, while watching the validation process, an unexpected side effect occurs–the daughter signs more to her mother when she realizes her mother isn’t interrupting her communication.

Since communication is a two-way process, giving more often results in receiving more willingness from others to sign with parents.

Daughter Storms Out Of Emotional Talk With Deaf Parents – Supernanny US – YouTube

Ways to Communicate Better at Work

Most people face at least a few communication challenges at work, enough for Forbes, U.S. News, Instructables, and Lifehacker to write content addressing how to communicate effectively in the workplace. These strategies may assist all staff, including those with hearing loss or deafness.

Two men carry rocks that will help them build a bridge together.
Though communication is a two-way effort, it’s important to reflect on your give and take in communication. Art by: Frits Ahlefeldt

According to an article in U.S. News, top communication strategies include both listening and speaking. As a listener, employees should pay attention when others are speaking, read body language for additional clues, and repeat or rephrase what the other person says to ensure everyone has the same understanding or to get clarification. If the other person has difficulty understanding what you say or didn’t hear you well, try rephrasing what you said using different words. Some words are easier to hear than others.

Most of the communication tips concern speaking, according to the U.S. News article, including asking others about their communication preferences (email, voice or videophone, texting, etc.), controlling your tone, avoiding casual speech, watching your grammar, and asking others about their personal lives, which often invites others to speak more informally with you.

News cameraman begins filming.
3-2-1, action! Speaking as if you are vying for air time is one way to make effective, direct communication. Photography by: Paul Brennan little paul

A Forbes article on communication strategies takes a reporter’s approach. Veteran TV news reporter, Karen Friedman, says her number one rule is: “It is absolutely critical to be as direct, to the point and concise as possible.” Other tips include being specific about deadlines, asking open-ended questions to avoid simple yes/no answers, and delivering bad news plainly.

According to an Instructables article by Trent Jonathan, we should be nice during communication, and ask questions. Jonathan says, “Even if you are an expert in your field, you can always learn more.”

Skier raises hands in air triumphantly.
Does your body language say what you want it to say? Photography by: Petr Kratochvil

According to a Lifehacker blog post, watching your body language is essential. ” We’ve pointed out before that you should minimize ‘moving away’ behavior like sighing, averting eyes, and negative body language so you don’t communicate something you don’t intend. Instead, focus more on positive body language like long periods of eye contact, uncrossed limbs, and genuine smiles.”

People with hearing loss or deafness use body language as a clue, so ensure that your gestures and facial expressions match your meaning.

Communication is lifelong. Coworkers and family members will appreciate your efforts to do it more effectively.