Sep 22, 2009

What is a Suitable Code?

In yesterday's post, we discussed the difference from a You-Message and an I-Message. Today, we determine what this looks like as a suitable code.

Here's an example:

For the parent who is tired and does not feel like playing with her five-year-old child, the encoding process is--

PARENT - Tired - (Encoding process) = (Code) "I am tired"

But if this parent selects a code that is "you" - oriented, she would not be coding her "feeling tired" accurately:

CHILD - Parent being Tired - (Encoding process) = (Code) "You are being a pest"

"You are being a pest" is a very poor code for the parent's tired feeling. A code that is clear and accurate would always be an I-Message: "I am tired," "I don't feel up to playing," "I want to rest." This communicates the feeling the parent is experiencing. A You-Message code does not send the feeling. It refers much more to the child than to the parent. A You-Message is child-oriented, not parent-oriented.

Remember to always use I-Messages!

*Excerpt from Dr. Gordon's book, Parent Effectiveness Training, P.E.T.

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