In an earlier post we discussed how we can use “I” statements to stop ourselves from nagging and accusing and how to engage our kids cooperation. The advantages of “I” statements don’t stop there. “I” statements can also be used to teach our children about our beliefs, ethics and moral standards in a non-confrontational way.
I know that part of my job as a parent is to teach my kids my values. I take it pretty seriously.
Somehow we feel that the best way to teach our kids is through lecturing and admonishments or we sometimes even deride their choices to get our point across.
When we lecture we might say:
“You know you need to listen and follow the rules in our house. Society has rules for a reason. It is important that we abide by these rules etc.”
When we admonish we might say:
“How could you lie about your homework? What were you thinking?
When we deride our kids choices, we might say:
“All you watch on TV are garbage shows. You should watch educational television. That will help expand your knowledge!”
Instead we want to try stating our beliefs and values in a non-confrontational manner using “I” statements:
“I believe that rules are important to help our home run smoothly.”
“I believe that homework should be done in a timely fashion.”
“I believe that educational TV shows help me expand my knowledge of the world.”
When we talk about ourselves and what we believe in we make a big impression on our kids. They hear our viewpoints clearly and succinctly. These simple “I” statements seems benign, but they pack a big punch.
We need to remember that nobody likes to be coerced into thinking, feeling or acting in a certain way. If we talk about what we hold dear in a non-confrontational manner, kids can hear us without feeling that they have to defend themselves or be pushed into an opinion that they might not share.
Having a good relationship with our kids is probably the best way to ensure that our kids incorporate our value systems as their own. Using “I” statements is one great way to nurture our relationships with our kids.
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