Jan 16, 2009

What's your favorite I-Message to give?

As a refresher - an I-Message is a statement that describes you; an expression of your feelings and experience. They don't have any kind of judgment or interpretation of others and, therefore, they are more honest and encourage others to be more open with you.

My favorite would have to be the Positive or Appreciative I-Message. I use this type of I-Message when I don't have any problems with the other person in my relationship. I simply use it to let them know that I appreciate something that they did, said or even just for the person they are. Positive I-Messages are very easy to give and really explain the "Why?" to your gratitude.

Here's a short message that is perfect for a child: "I really appreciate how you cleaned up your toys in the living room when I asked you to; it's much easier for me to find things in there when I need them now."

So simple, right? Do you see how in that short message you are telling the child what a specific behavior from them meant to you?

As a parent, you can feel good about yourself after sharing positive feelings like this and, most importantly, your child can feel appreciated, affirmed and loved.

To create an I-Message, just add the results of the answers to these questions:

What was my child's behavior that I appreciate?
What effect did that behavior have on me?
How did that behavior make me feel?

Make sure to be as clear as possible - don't add any labels like "You're such a good girl!" The point of a Positive I-Message is to focus on real feelings and experiences and steer clear of judgment.

Try using a Positive I-Message today with your child and report the results with the rest of us in the comments section to this post!

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