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Parenting Guide Sheets
18. Talking

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Page 18B

vi) Giving Thanks

· This may sound so mundane and to not be worth mentioning but a child who is never thanked and doesn't learn to say thank you, grows up taking life for granted and never appreciates fully the wonder of life around them.

· Appreciation of what we have or are given should create thankfulness in us. It is only when our life or the life of our child is seriously threatened, do we truly appreciate the value of this life.

· It's a shame if we need to have a crisis to teach us to teach our children to be thankful people.

· Thankful children are nice to be with – and they enjoy and appreciate life more!
c) Talking to get behind the Barriers: I-Messages
There are two specific times when we need to try to get behind the barriers our children may sometimes put up:

· when they have done wrong, or there is a conflict and they are defensive, and
· when they have shared their feelings and have made themselves feel vulnerable (see below under ‘Listening')
At such times you want to:
· speak with respect and
· convey your feelings in a way they will accept.
Their defensiveness will only be increased when we:
· directly confront the problem by putting the onus on them, and
· maintain a “I'm right and you're wrong” attitude.
To overcome this we can adopt the use if “I-Messages”
There are three parts to an “I-Message”
· “When” – citing their behaviour
· “I feel” – explaining what you feel
· “Because” – explaining why you feel it.
Example 1: “When you come in late without warning us , I feel worried because I don't know if something has happened to you.”
Example 2:  “When you leave your all the dishes in the sink , I feel very unhappy because it means you're not taking your part in the life of the family.”
Example 3 (True story, made up name, words approximate – it was some time ago!): One of the women on a training course I was on recounted the following week how she had gone home after we had been doing “I-Messages” and on the Saturday afternoon went upstairs to find her fifteen year old daughter and two friends experimenting with makeup in the basin in the bathroom – which was an absolute mess. Instead of her usual tirade about untidiness, she simply said, “Oh Jeanie, when I find you've messed the bathroom, it makes me so sad because I'll then have to stop preparing dinner to clear up, and make us all late.” and then simply went back downstairs. Her husband who was in the vicinity heard one of the friends say to Jeanie, “Wow, isn't your Mum cool, I wish I had a Mum like that!” – and I believe they then cleaned the basin!
Try it, see how it works out, you may be very pleasantly surprised.

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