Free Parenting Video Lesson: Communicating with Kids Using “I” Messages

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“I” Messages- from the Redirecting Children’s Behavior Online Course

Another way of disciplining without punishment is using “I” messages. Often, parents begin discipline with what the child has done wrong:

“You keep forgetting to do your chores.”
“You need to be more respectful.”
“You are making too much noise in there!”

When we start of our sentences with the word “I”, instead of the word “you,” we take out the potential of our children fighting back, feeling defensive and shutting down on us.

“I really need your help with keeping the kitchen tidy.”
“I don’t feel good about the way you talk to me.”
“I need a little quiet so I can concentrate on my work.”

“I” messages create a spirit of cooperation because they encourage dialogue between the child and the parent. Kids don’t feel scolded, judged, or lectured—they are simply listening to how you feel. This gives them an opportunity to share how they feel about the situation and allows for them to contribute to the solution. Remember, kids love to feel needed and valued at any age, and this is a great way to invite their cooperation.

Modeling “I” Messages is an excellent way to help increase your child’s emotional intelligence.

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