Posts Tagged ‘Empathy’

Check this out about labeling our children, its only a minute.

By Timothy D. Evans and Raymond J. Corsini

Grousing is a common behavior that is highly destructive to relationships. It increases interpersonal conflict and provokes revenge while generating attitudes of resentment and no cooperation. Parents grouse at their children because they believe it will make them more responsible. One or both members of a couple may grouse at each other, convinced they know what is best for their partner. Despite its prevalence, grousing is a discouraging way of interacting. It destroys the potential for developing an encouraging and intimate relationship.

What is grousing? Webster defines grouse as “to grumble or complain.” It is related to the word “grouch.” Roget equates the term with “fret, chafe, frown, crab, or pout.” The usual synonym for grousing is nagging. The phrase, “Get off my back” means to stop grousing.

The initial step in encouragement training is to teach couples, parents, and teachers how their seemingly innocuous behavior irritates and discourages others. Nothing will improve in marriage until one starts working on him- or herself without trying to change the other person (Evans, 1989; Meredith & Evans, 1990). Marriage reconstruction requires the grouser to stop nagging, complaining, arguing, judging, criticizing, punishing, or rewarding (anything that irritates the other person). In short, the grouser needs to shut up and be pleasant.

GROUSING EXERCISE: An especially effective exercise for improving relationships entails the elimination of grousing for 4 consecutive days. After the therapist explains what it means to grouse, the following directions are given to couples or individuals: If you are guilty of grousing, are you willing to stop it for four consecutive days? If so, here is the assignment: You must stop grousing immediately and completely for four consecutive days. If you’ve been attacking, criticizing, yelling, reminding, nagging, threatening, bringing up the past, comparing, or pointing out mistakes, stop it now. This includes all negative behavior, no matter how “nicely” presented or well-intentioned.

Instead of grousing, act “as if” you are a sensible and self-controlled person who has decided to get off your spouse’s back and enjoy their company in spite of their shortcomings. You are not to do anything else other than to avoid grousing at your partner, child, or the person closes to you. After four consecutive days you have the choice of reverting to your old behavior.

You are only to participate in this exercise if you agree to do it for four consecutive days. This means that if you go for three days and grouse, you need to start over. You are not to perform this exercise with the intention of shaping-up the other person. You are changing your behavior because it is the decent and reasonable thing to do.

Assuming you follow through with this experiment, what might happen! There are several possibilities:

1. You will feel better about yourself. After all, who likes to be a prison guard monitoring someone’s behavior?

2. You will look better. Nags look like nags.

3. You will show/generate goodwill. Your mate will have evidence of your intention to improve the marriage.

4. You will become a more encouraging person.

5. You will reduce tension.

Your family will develop a friendly, supportive atmosphere. The Grousing Exercise is one that benefits everyone as both therapists and their clients can encourage themselves and their families. Practicing encouragement via the elimination of grousing is a win-win quality relationship proposal. ‘

REFERENCES

Evans, T. (1989). The Art of Encouragement. Athens, GA: University of Georgia, Center for Continuing Education.

Meredith, C., & Evans, T. (1990). Encouragement in the Family, Individual Psychology, 46, 187-192.

The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families ~ Vol. 2, No. 1 (1994) pp. 70

[1] Appeared in: The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families ~ Vol. 2, No. 1 (1994) pp. 70

“You cannot solve your problems by taking psychoactive substances that impair your mind and the expression of your sprit. From illegal drugs to psychiatric medications, drugs suppress and distort our real emotions and should be avoided, especially in time of suffering and fear when we need to know what we are feeling to control our actions.”

Peter Breggin, M.D., Medication Madness

1. Stop criticizing. Not an easy step to take. However, it is an effective beginning toward changing the lines of communication from negative to positive.
2. Restructure relations. Tell your teenager at a quiet time that you have been thinking things over and wish to make some changes in your own attitude.
3. Establish a relationship of equity with your teenager. This, of course, does not mean that you, the parents, should give the child things which are excessively costly or service which puts you in the position of servant.
4. Set some logical limits. For example discuss where you think he or she should go socially, the appropriate hour for getting home, and the number of times per week for going out. If all are quietly talking and trying to solve the problem, letting go of the power struggle between each side, it is possible to reach some agreement.
5. Once an agreement is reached the teenager should then take the responsibility to carry through. It should not be the parent who has to ask, “Where are you going?” or the child who asks, “May I go to Ann’s house?” The teenager should simply state, “I am going to Ann’s house and will return at 10:30.” In turn, the adults should tell there teens where they are going and when they expect to return home.
6. When you talk, state your feelings, but do not imply that only you are right.
7. Listen to what your teenager has to say. Do not interrupt. Take the time to think about what has been said and ask the same courtesy for yourself, but stress that what you say is only your opinion.
8. Do not expect more from your teenager than you do from yourself.
9. You may have to change the lesions you are teaching by example. For example, if you want a teenager to stop smoking and you, yourself, smoke; see if you can both agree to stop. And even if no agreement is reached, you stop anyway!
10. Become willing to be taught by your teenager. Show interest in what he or she tells you. This will encourage friendship.
11. Enjoy the companionship of your teenager. Parents may invite the teenager to join them in some activity, which they enjoy. Do not be hurt if you are refused; remember this is the age for breaking away from parents.
12. Try to learn the teenage language and do not get angry at its use. This does not mean that you have to use it.
13. Live and let live. Trying to fashion your teenager in your own image will not work.
14. You may need counseling. A psychologist or family counselor may save much time and effort and help you change yourself or your behavior.
15. Let go, and let your teenager grow up.
16. Show your affection for your teenager with an occasional hug, an arm around the shoulder, a pat on the back, and expressions of appreciation.
17. You cannot give permission for a teenager to do anything illegal or allow the teenager to break the law while living with you.
18. You do not have to spend money on teenagers for any object or activity of which you disapprove.
19. You should be willing to listen carefully to proposed ventures and to discuss these sympathetically, giving your opinions. You may withhold your blessing, but you should not threaten or give an outright refusal.
20. In crisis situations, such as accidents while driving or arrests, the less said in heat, the better. Wait until everything has calmed down.

There is a lot of evidence that supports the use of Choice Theory and other Third Force Psychologies that focus on maintaining and improving the relationships. Especially staying away from external control psychology (Rewards and Punishment) and instead making use of encouragement (not praise) natural and on occasion logical consequences (4R of a logical consequences). There is a lot of confusion over what constitutes “emotional attachment”. Choice Theory, Adlerian Psychology, Person-Center Therapy, all offer helpful ideas of how to stay connected to the important people in our lives. For instances, empathy is a way to provide understanding and therefore belonging to those we love.

Although, I think the quality of time is as important as the amount of time with our teens. You can spend a lot of disconnecting time with our teens, children, and spouse (deadly habits). In addition, being overly focused on the need of our teens, not only develops self-centered human beings, but also takes away their self-confidence and ability to leave home.

Tampa Tribune, September 11, 1997.
Secure teenagers don’t take drugs

A Washington Post report
Teenagers who have strong emotional attachments to their parents and teachers are much less likely to use drugs and alcohol, attempt suicide, engage in violence or become sexually active at an early age, according to the largest-ever study of American adolescents.
The study, published in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association, concludes that feeling loved, understood and paid attention to by parents helps teenagers avoid high-risk activities regardless of whether a child comes from a one or two-parent household. It is also more important than the amount of time parents spend at home, the study found.
At school, positive relationships with teachers were found to be more important in protecting teenagers than any other factor, including classroom size or teacher training.
Researchers also found that young people who have jobs requiring them to work 20 or more hours a week, regardless of family economic status, are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, smoke cigarettes, engage in early sex and report emotional distress.
While the amount of time spent with parents had a positive effect on reducing emotional distress, feeling connected to parents was five times more powerful. And this emotional bond was about six times more important than was the amount of various activities that teenagers did with their parents.