this morning i was looking for internet references to my favourite parenting book, liberated parents, liberated children. back when i was facilitating parents’ groups, i used it as the basis of two courses.
what struck me suddenly was that this book is about much more than “just” parenting (as if that wasn’t enough!) – it’s really a book about communication, and, ultimately, emotional health. i think i’m going to go back and read it once again, with an eye to exactly those topics.
at any rate, i found a wonderful article about the book with the somewhat ominous title, “instead of hitting.” here are some excerpts.
we can describe what we see: “i see a glass near the edge of the table.”
we can describe the problem: “the kitchen is a mess.”
we can give information: “bikes left out in the rain will rust.”
we can make a statement of appropriate function or behavior: “we don’t hit people.”
we can offer a choice: “you can wear the red outfit or the green outfit.”
we can say it in a word: “shoes!”
we can describe what we feel: “when i come home tired from work, i feel sorry for myself when i have to make dinner. it would be so nice to come home to dinner being cooked and to have some help in the kitchen.”
we can write a note.
the communication suggestions above stand in sharp contrast to poor communication, which blames, accuses, calls names, threatens, commands, lectures, warns, evokes martyrdom, compares, is sarcastic, or prophesies. notice the example under “we can describe what we feel,” above. it encourages family members to come forward to help. it is an “i” message and talks totally about the speaker’s feelings without accusing anyone else of anything. the word you is not in the sentence.
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