Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Power statement: I am disappointed...
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Thursday, July 02, 2009

It is much more powerful to say "I am disappointed that you didn't stay home when I told you to stay home," than it is to say "It's disappointing that you didn't stay home."

Both comments technically mean the same thing; however, the first one personalizes what is going on and hits a ten on the power meter. The second one impersonalizes what is going on. The second one could be referring to the stock market or a movie but the first one is talking about being hurt or let down or feeling betrayed.

Depending on what exactly happened, we should be careful not to overuse this power phrase. Keep it handy for things that are really important.

Mom: I am very disappointed that, after we talked about this and talked about how important this is to me, that you did not stay home yesterday. When I got home from work you were already gone.

Daughter: I asked Dad. He said I could go. You're not the only parent here you know!

Mom: Dad was not here when you and I talked. I am disappointed that you would ask Dad when I was already clear with you on this.

Daughter: You act like I don't do anything good around here. I did a load of laundry before I went out you know- that was to help you out- and look at all the changes I've made since I've quit using drugs. And I'm staying clean. And I gave up all my old friends. Nothing I do is ever good enough for you!

Mom: You have made a lot of changes. You are busy changing yourself. I do appreciate the effort you made by throwing in a load of laundry. Remind me that we need to talk about the best ways to do laundry- but you are so right honey, you are changing and you are making a effort.

Daughter: [glaring]

Mom: Listen, you know when you were doing drugs, I didn't have a lot of control over you. As parents, your father and I really struggle to keep in control here.

Daughter: So?

Mom: I like the changes you're making. You father and I are making some changes too. It's hard to change. We want to be better parents and we want to do a better job of holding you and your sisters accountable. So...

Daughter: Oh is the part where you get tough on us? (sarcastically uttered)

Mom: Yes- for example- I need to know that if you and I talk and I make it clear that you will not go out- that you will not go out. I need to know that you won't go ask you father for a different answer or that you won't just walk out on me anyways. I need to trust that you will be here when I need you to be here even when you don't agree with me and even when you get mad about it.

Daughter: You'll never trust me Mom. That's just the way you are.

Mom: Nevertheless, I need to know that you'll be here when I tell you to be here. I have asked your therapist from the rehab to meet with us and help all of us come up with a contract. From now on, your father and I will be holding you accountable for your behavior. We haven't been good at this in the past but we are going to try it again. I need your help. I need you to work with us.

Daughter: What do you mean hold us accountable? In what way?

Mom: It's going to involve a lot of stuff that you won't like. You'll be pretty mad about it. You know stuff like taking away TV, cell phone, computer privileges, not giving you the money that we would have given you - stuff like that.

Daughter: It's not going to work! I'll go out anyways.

Mom: I'm disappointed. I hoped that I could count on you to help us out.

Daughter: Not if you're going to take my sh*# away!

Mom: Well, right. OK. That's your position. Thanks for making your position clear. You'll have to make your own decisions about these things and were going to do what we have to do, but at least we can all sit down and talk about the contract. That way you'll have a chance to tell your side of the story. But in the meantime you are grounded. If you go out anyways then your father and I will talk about cancelling your phone and pulling the plug on your TV and computer. Now I didn't want to do that without letting you know first that it could happen. I'm letting you know now. I have informed your father that you are grounded so now that he knows he won't be agreeing to let you out.

Daughter: Why? Give me one good reason why I should be grounded.

Mom: OK sure. But you and I could talk all night about this one, honey, and I won't convince you that you should be grounded. So, I'll tell you why one time and then we'll drop it because I know you don't and you won't agree with this. [Mom then gives a brief explanation that might be something like: "You continue to associate with your old friends that use drugs. That is unacceptable."]

Daughter: [glares] You can take my phone I still won't stay home.

Mom: That's going to be up to you. If you're sure you can turn your phone into me now. It's up to you. Think about it- I gotta go put those clothes in the laundry again. Oh honey, I love it that you did a load of laundry- Thank You So Much. Now let me show you how you can do that better next time, OK?

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