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June 22, 2011

A Great Idea…


“When conflicts arise over your teen’s behavior, don’t use trait labels (lazy, greedy, sloppy, selfish) to talk about it. Talk instead in terms of specific actions, telling your child how what she has done affects you.”  (Psychologist, John Gottman, in his book, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, pp. 211-212)


In Other Words…         


When we’re frustrated, we quite naturally hang labels on our children. Those labels don’t motivate them. In fact, they tend to discourage them and make them angry. For example, if our children leave clothes lying around, rather than call them lazy or sloppy, we can make a simple statement: “When I see clothes lying around the living room, I feel frustrated. I feel like throwing them away.”


How This Applies to You…


The next time a conflict arises with your teen, take a moment to conquer your urge to strike out at your child. Take a deep breath. Express your frustration in a way that invites action rather than generates resentment and discouragement.


To Find Out More…


For an excellent (and free!)  program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at and if you have children less than 5 years of age, check out See the World Through My Eyes.


For more on parenting, we recommend Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, or Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim Ginott. You might also read free ideas from Between Parent and Teenager at



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