Posts Tagged ‘Family Relations’

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. ‘


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

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.

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