Tag Archives: Communication

Communication in Desi Households

Desi Talk – A column that works on embracing our brown background and unique identity using Coach Yashu’s helpful tips. Find her talking to IC Editor, Srishti Prabha on Instagram LIVE Tuesdays at 6pm PST/ 9pm EST!

Recently I saw a post that seemed like a cry for help and reminded me of the need for a Desi Mental Health Community.

We need to be a Desi Resource for one another and because we are the only people who can understand the implications of desi culture, lifestyle, and health. 

I want to let people know…Yashu is here! I know how challenging being desi can be.

Tip 1: Most conflicts within desi households revolve around communication style.

In the end, it’s necessary to remember that the most important person is YOU and you must protect your energy, whether you are the parent or the child. Sometimes protecting yourself can feel like an impossible task, so you have to break past the cultural guilt and learn to redesign your relationships and communication styles. YES, it does work!

This is a very real issue, but one that has a resolution!

Oftentimes, children may feel shut out or denied their feelings. As a result, they stress themselves out trying to convince their desi families to listen and not dismiss them. But how many of us have truly had luck with that? Where we just talk it out and the parents just get it? Explaining the same thing, over and over again, can be discouraging and even hurtful. 

Now, all you desi kids, You must remember that when the other person, be it a sibling, or a parent,  is not ready to receive you, there is no point in imposing your thoughts on the other person; investing energy on convincing a parent who is not open to hearing you is meaningless. This can ultimately lead to giving up on our dreams or even worse, shutting ourselves off to our parents. 

And if you are a parent, even if your child is making a mistake or doing something you do not agree with, allow your child the space to express and then have a respectful conversation – allowing your child to come to a space of realization or find where their thinking was not thorough. At that point, if your child refuses to listen, you may try again but if they are not in a space to listen, let it go. Because desi families are protective, and it is in our culture to be closely knit, make yourself available to your child so that you are a resource and a safe space. 

To all my desi kids out there, I hope this helps! Slip this article on the living room table, where your parents sit to have their afternoon chai (Don’t forget to act all casual about it). 

Parents, see if this helps you become even closer with your children and create more beautiful memories with your family!


Yashu Rao is the first South Indian-American plus-size model and doubles as a Confidence Coach. She is the Founder of #HappyYashu, a Confidence and Lifestyle Coaching Service, specializing in desi family structures. She’s here breaking down stereotypes and beauty standards as well as inspiring and empowering people to lead a life with self-love, confidence, and genuine happiness. Find her on Instagram giving tips and modeling.

Survive COVID-19 with a Cabin Fever Playbook

What seemed improbable a month ago is today a shared global reality. The steady unravelling of COVID-19 has forced us all – across generations and geographies, to stay home. Morale is low and stress levels are high as we work from home, grieve for and worry about those afflicted, homeschool our children, and struggle to make ends meet in a crumbling economy.

While challenges of confinement and the lack of routine have pushed me out of my comfort zone, strangely, this period has also been a deeply introspective one. I have had teaching moments that have helped me prioritize and gain perspective to effectively navigate these difficult and fluid times.

LEARNING TO ROLL WITH AMBIGUITY
The steepest learning curve for me has been accepting unpredictability and rolling with it. I find myself:

  • Improvising. For example, when I couldn’t find any sanitizers anywhere, I was forced to make my own. My favorite recipe is mixing ¼ tsp of bleach with 4 cups of water.
    When getting my daily yoga stretches seemed impossible, I resorted to CosmicKids Yoga. Now, I get a yoga workout with my preschooler in tow since it engages kids through story and movement.
  • Getting creative. I buy whatever fresh produce is readily and easily available and turn to the internet for inspiration. I’ve dug out my formally forgotten cookbooks and am trying my hand at new recipes.
  • Relaxing standards. With everyone homebound, there’s more mess, less tidiness and meals are often prepared on the fly. But that’s to be expected. Once this realization struck, I recalibrated and lowered standards. This helped me stay calm and centered. Beds don’t always get made, but the sheets are clean. Meals may be prepared on the fly, but they’re healthy. I learned not to sweat it. There’s enough to worry about as is.


STAYING ORGANIZED

I am by no means a planner. But, when I saw the panic around me at our local grocery store, I was jolted into action:

  • To create a weekly meal roster to plan grocery runs.
  • I stocked up on non-perishables. Fortunately, being accustomed to eating and cooking Indian food, between atta (whole wheat), rice, Sabudana (tapioca), pasta, flour, sooji (semolina), besan (chickpea flour), poha (flattened rice), bread, and a few packs of frozen rotis and naans, I had an array of grain options. My new favorite comfort food now is a simple and wholesome Sabudana khichri.
  • To bolster our supply of vitamins, ginger tea, and citrus fruits to keep up our immunity.


COMMUNICATING

At a time when schedules are unpredictable with no school and everyone working from home, things don’t always fall in place as seamlessly as they used to. As a result, I found it vital to effectively communicate household rules and expectations.

  • We have a written daily routine and each person is assigned household chores and responsibilities. That way everyone’s on the same page and knows when and how to chip in. This has provided the much-needed predictability in times of uncertainty and has also fostered teamwork.
  • I am also making the most of this opportunity to double down on conversing in my native language (Hindi) with my preschooler and second grader. I can already see some promising results.

MAKING TIME FOR LITTLE THINGS
I find myself making more time for family. A relatively slower pace of life is allowing more time to connect with each other as well as with extended family and community members. More than before, I see us using FT, Skype and Zoom to connect with each other. Most importantly, I’m enjoying simple activities like:

  • Walking. It is Spring after all! If parks are out of bounds, we take family walks. These aren’t long. Sometimes squeezing in a short walk between meetings or a break is good enough. It’s refreshing to marvel at blooming flowers and seek joy in the many signs of new life and activity around us.
  • Playing. We make up silly games, play board games, word games, card games, Simon says, red light-green light, do messy art projects; all of which fuel our creativity and bring us closer as a family.
  • Baking. Instead of composting that overripe banana, we make banana bread. We roll dough and cut out shapes when we make atta ladoos and atta cookies respectively.


LAUGHING

For some time, I had replaced humor with fear, anxiety and stress. One day, my eight-year-old asked me, “Why do graveyards have a fence around them?” Looking at my confused expression, he promptly replied, “Because people are dying to get in!” With all the dread unfolding, it felt like a scene from a dark comedy movie. It lightened the mood and we all had a good laugh.

I realized that it’s ok to laugh even in the face of adversity. Given our current reality, it’s easy to forget to let some humor into our lives. Besides, doesn’t laughter reduce stress-generated cortisol that kills our immune system? So, why not laugh, boost our immunity and flatten the curve!

To get in some laughs every day:

  • I have intentionally added joke books to our children’s daily reading stack. Kids love jokes and rarely miss an opportunity to share something that tickles them.
  • In the evening, my husband and I carve out some time to watch something funny. It’s a wonderful way to relax, connect and laugh together as adults.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a trying time, stretching our mental and physical capacity to endure fear and uncertainty. Yet, it’s heartening to see folks reach out to provide services like grocery runs or offer free in-home entertainment materials like family games, books and DVDs. We’re connecting with family, friends and our extended community, to make sure we’re all okay. Our children are virtually interacting with cousins, grandparents and friends. I’m reminded of Gilda Radner, who once wisely said – “Life is about…taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

We’re certainly trying our best!

Nidhi Kirpal Jayadevan’s pre-kids’ life was dedicated to the complex field of Communication Sciences. After choosing to be a fulltime mother, reading and playing with her high energy boys has been a fascinating journey. It has (re)kindled in her a sense of wonder in all things small. She constantly sees the world through little eyes, applying simple learnings to deepen life’s meaning for herself and her family.

Edited by Meera Kymal, contributing editor at India Currents

Photo by Jyotirmoy Gupta on Unsplash

Archetypes of How to Communicate

How often do you and your spouse talk? Communication in marriage is the key to keeping your relationship strong and healthy. But communicating effectively isn’t always as easy as it seems. A person’s upbringing and past experiences with romantic relationships will have a strong effect on how well they communicate as an adult. And sometimes blending two very different methods of communication can be difficult.

We’re looking at effective methods of communication in marriage through the art of archetypes. These models will serve as a basis of how to talk to your partner about any topic under the sun. With technology at your fingertips, archetypes to use as an example, and verbal and nonverbal cues to alert your partner that you need to talk, there is no excuse to stay quiet in your marriage. Here are 6 different structures and archetypes of how to communicate effectively with your spouse.

  1. The Lover Archetype

Communication in marriage is not always built through verbal communication. Take for example the Lover archetype. This model is focused on nonverbal human connections and the art of touch.

Touch is one of the most powerful senses. It holds the ability to put one at ease, arouse, and display love and connectedness.

A sports study by the University of Illinois showed the relation between physical touch bonding, morale, and cooperation. While tracking physical contact between played in NBA games, the research showed the more touch contact there was between teammates, the more successful the team was.

If touch can promote unity and connectedness between sports players, how much more can it do for a marriage?

Sex, of course, is another focus of the lover archetype. Being sexually intimate is one of the strongest ways that couples connect and communicate with one another.

Through sex and other physical contacts, such as hugging, kissing, hand-holding, and spooning, couples deepen their love for one another through the release of oxytocin.  Oxytocin then promotes a sense of unity, trust, and communication.

  1. The Date Night Method

Many couples who have improved communication skills after marital crisis share on a weekly date night. During this day the couple will plan a fun outing, or “date”, in which they treat each other as they did when they were first together. Flirting, building sexual chemistry and anticipation, and generally having fun together.

One research study found that couples who regularly spend time together this way are 3.5 times more likely to title themselves “very happy” in their marriage.

This fun atmosphere makes way for some great communication opportunities. During date night couples can check-in with one another using positive language to talk about their marriage.

Consider the example of a husband who wishes his wife would spend less time on her phone. Using phrases like: “I love spending time with you without any distractions” is more beneficial than saying “Why do you have to be on your phone all the time? It’s really irritating.”

This compliment-style correction reinforces your love for your spouse, expresses your desire for a certain behavior in a positive light, and doesn’t feel like an attack to your partner.

  1. The Warrior Archetype

A warrior is someone who is courageous, strong, shows vigor, and may even be aggressive about success. When using the warrior as an archetype for communication in marriage, you will be inspired to speak up even when the topic at hand is difficult.

As a strong warrior, you aren’t afraid of communicating with your spouse about any topic because you know that your relationship is strong enough to overcome anything. This archetype of communication will deepen your connection to your spouse and instill positive feelings toward one another, even when life gets hard.

  1. The Business Meeting Method

Unlike the relaxed atmosphere of date night, the business meeting method gets straight down to, well, business! This weekly “marriage check-in” is an open forum in which each party can talk about their marriage.

In order for the marriage check-in to be successful, both parties must agree to be honest during the session. During the check-in each partner will go back and forth, uninterrupted, talking about both the things they are enjoying about married life, as well as addressing any issues or concerns they might be having.

Any topic of conversation can be on the table for the business meeting; starting a family, cleaning up after yourself, financial matters, raising the children, spending more time together, the frequency of intimacy. But remember, this method will not work if both partners are not honest and willing to communicate openly.

  1. The Caregiver Archetype

As a caregiver, your priority is your spouse’s well-being, emotionally and otherwise. This archetype has a sweet soul and approaches communication with kindness, tenderness, and gentle speech.

A caregiver isn’t afraid to sit back and listen to their partner without interruption. They are devoted to solving problems within the marriage. A gentle demeanor full of love and understanding will be the key to encouraging your partner to be vulnerable with you.

  1. The Chit-Chat Method

“Hey honey, how was your day?”

This simple phrase is uttered nearly every day by couples everywhere when they convene after a day away from one another. Instead of going on autopilot with the hum-drum answer of: “Fine, thanks. Yours?” why not take advantage of the opportunity to really talk?

Communication is about using your voice, showing empathy, and feeling comfortable enough to be vulnerable with your partner.

This day-to-day small talk may not seem like a big deal, but this idle chit-chat is necessary. Small talk helps establish a real connection that doesn’t require heavy conversation. Yet, it is still important to your everyday marriage. After all, if you can’t talk about the little things, how can you talk about the bigger topics of conversation?

From nonverbal cues to date night revelations, there are many different methods of communication in marriage. There is no longer any excuse for not talking openly and honestly with your spouse. Strengthen your marriage by using these different structures and archetypes of how to communicate with your partner.

Author Bio: Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.