So last week on the way to soccer practice, I suggested to Ivy that an I-message may work better for her at dinner time. That night she tried to send an I-message to Alex: "I would appreciate it if you would keep your mouth closed and stop making those noises while you eat!" But that didn't go over well either: "If you don't like it, go somewhere else!"
When Ivy later complained to me that I-messages don't work, I explained the difference between I-messages and Hidden You-messages. The following sentences are clear You-Messages and often ineffective:
- You stop eating with your mouth open.
- You are a spoiled brat.
- You go clean up your room right now.
When you say "I think", "I need", or "I appreciate it if" in front of a You-messages, they are still ineffective. We call these "hidden you-messages":
- I'd appreciate it if you stop eating with your mouth open
- I think you are a spoiled brat
- I need you to go clean up your room right now
These hidden you-messages still contain orders and judgments and as a result Alex still felt defensive and is resistant to change. True I-statements on the other hand, explain what I don't like, why I don't like it, and how I feel. It does NOT contain what the other should be doing. When I use real I-messages, I come across as; I am having a problem and I would like some help with my problem. Instead of, you are bad and you need to change.
So last night Ivy tried a third time. She said: "It is hard for me to eat when I hear these noises and I am starting to feel annoyed."
Alex looked at her suspicious and said: "Okay, got it" and continued eating with his mouth closed!
Come and learn how to communicate more effectively with your children at one of our upcoming P.E.T. classes:
Check Out All of Our SPRING Classes!
Individuals $250 (Couples $395) PLUS $45 Materials Fee
SPRING 2018 Schedule:
- Irvine (Near OC Airport)
Saturday 4/14 - 4/16 2:30 - 5:30pm 8 weeks
No classes on Saturday afternoon April 28 and May 27th
- Encino (The Valley in L.A.)
Wednesday 4/11 - 6/6 6:30pm-9:30pm 8 weeks
No classes on Wednesday morning April 25th
- Los Angeles (Eagle Rock)
Thursday 4/19 - 6/14 6:30 - 9:30pm 8 weeks
No class on Thursday evening April 26th
Refresher Classes for P.E.T. graduates:
Los Angeles - Eagle Rock
1 Class $45 ind. ($75 cpls); 2 Classes $65 ind. ($99 cpls)
- Tues May 8th 7:00 - 9:00pm Eagle Rock
- Tues May 22nd 7:00 - 9:00pm Eagle Rock