Laura S. Kastner, Ph.D., author of Wise-Minded Parenting
OWL (Offer of Wise-Minded Learning): Glass Half Full Day
Challenge the whole family to only say positive things for one entire day. Keep score. Everyone gets a point after they have shared a positive statement. If problems are identified, you still get a point for saying it in a “glass half full” fashion. “I see that you are violating the cell-phone rule by bringing it to the dinner table, but it gives you an opportunity to self-manage. And if you don’t, I get to follow through on consistency with consequences!” This exercise is meant to raise awareness that ‘most anything can be put in “glass half full” terms, if we try. Decide whether you want rewards or prizes. If the kids refuse to play along, parents still get to build and model this important muscle!
The List of Listening One-Liners
Use these responses when you hear your teen say something off-putting (critical, judgmental or mean-spirited), distorted (according to you), or wrong-headed (again, according to you). The goal of these responses to open up a conversation, avoid arguments about the facts, stay pleasant, or just be experienced as empathic. Sarcasm is off-limits. If you can’t deliver these genuinely, wait for another time. Non sequiturs are good too--off the wall, irrelevant but pleasant statements that do not follow from the teen’s quip, but also “don’t go negative!” which is the goal!).
- “Maybe you’re right” “Point taken”
- “I hear that you are disappointed.”
- “Hmmm…. Could you say more about that?”
- “You must have good reasons for saying that. Can you tell me more?”
- “For you to say that, I imagine something happened that made you feel rotten. What was it?”
- “Wow. I must say I see it differently, but tell me what led you to that conclusion.”
- “Interesting point. I’ll have to ponder that one.”
- “That’s a show-stopper. I don’t have a thing to say to that.”
- “Whoa. I’ll give you space here and let you play the tape back. That was quite the zinger.”
Read about “The Role of Positive Emotions” in Wise-Minded Parenting: 7 Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens + Teens, in chapter 5: Emotional Flourishing.