Connecting Families: A Relationship Enhancement Program

acting out in school.
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, so help me if your mother phones one more time to tell me that the kids are fighting
when they are outside playing, I’ll just scream at her. It’s your mother so you need to tell
her to butt out.
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, do I have to tell you that the grass is almost up to your knees? When are you going
to mow it?
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Mastering the Challenge of Conflict, Session 2 24 2004
Session Materials 2
Constructive Griping
Directions: Reproduce and cut each situation into an individual handout slip. Ask the
group to form teams of two. Each team is given a situation slip. The team is to present
the situation using the “One Minute Gripe” technique. (Note that these are the same
situations used to illustrate how conflict can escalate).
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, you just don’t care, you are always late coming home.
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, you know that I like pizza not fish so why did you get fish for dinner?
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, you are a slob, leaving you dirty work clothes on the bedroom floor after I worked
so hard to keep the room neat.
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, I was so embarrassed when you showed up late for our meeting with the pastor.
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, why are you so irritable all the time?
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, how can be get anywhere when you spend so much on that fishing equipment?
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, my mother likes you but she just can’t see why you are not willing to fix that front
door.
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, we got an overdraw notice from the bank. What’s going on here?
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, John’s teacher phoned and she would like to see both of us, not just me. Our son is
not doing his home work and is really acting out in school.
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, so help me if your mother phones one more time to tell me that the kids are fighting
when they are outside playing, I’ll just scream at her. It’s your mother so you need to tell
her to butt out.
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fred, do I have to tell you that the grass is almost up to your knees? When are you going
to mow it?
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Mastering the Challenge of Conflict, Session 2 25 2004
Background Information 1
“I” Statement Summary
“I” messages are used to effectively communicate with another person when we need to let them know that
something they are doing is causing a problem for us. They are very effective in problem solving, conflict
negotiation, and in general, letting another person know what behavior is expected.
“I” messages are different from “you” messages.
“I” MESSAGES “YOU” MESSAGES
• show respect for the other person • do not show respect
• tell how you feel • blame, cause hurt and anger
• tell what you want to happen • accuse, ridicule, criticize
“You” messages cause other people to become defensive and cut off communication, but many of us are in
the habit of using them. Examples:
“You always leave your coat on the floor.”
“You are a slob!”
“You never call when you’re going to be late.”
“I” messages may help motivate another person to change behavior when the individual becomes aware of
how it affects you. They give the speaker a chance to express feelings and ideas in a positive manner.
“I” messages have four parts–the fourth is optional”
1. When you
Describe Specific Behavior
2. I feel
State Feeling
3. Because
State How It Affects You
OPTIONAL:
4. I would like
State Desired Behavior
Some very concrete-thinkers need more guidelines than just knowing how their behavior affects you, so the
fourth component lets them know what behavior you would prefer.
Examples of “I” Messages
“When you leave your dirty clothes on the floor, I feel frustrated because I’m trying to keep the bedroom
looking neat. I would like you to put it in the dirty laundry basket or hang it in the closet.”
“When I got home and found you had begun to fix dinner, I was so relieved because it really saved time for
us.”
Positive “I” messages, such as the second example, give feedback about desirable behaviors that do not
always require the fourth component. They have a positive effect in getting others to continue a behavior.
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Working as a Team, Session 3 26 2004
SESSION PREPARATION: To prepare to teach the session, make copies of the following
handouts Relationships Indicator Assessment, Handout 1, and Relationship Indicator Scoring
Guide, Handout 2. Prepare the Speaker–Listener Role Play Situations, Session Materials 1
for the use in the session. Review the PowerPoint slides, and session outline .
LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
Participants will:
1 List strategies that can strengthen
relationships.
1 Identify the typical negative
relationship communication
indicators.
1 Demonstrate the appropriate use of
the speaker–listener technique.
KEY IDEAS:
1 Conflict in relationships is fueled by
specific negative behaviors.
1 Recognizing negative behaviors within
one’s relationship assists in developing
more positive coping strategies.
1 Using the Speaker–Listener
Communication technique assists
couples in resolving issues in a positive
manner that is less damaging to the
relationship.
1 Learning and using effective
communication techniques increases
the quality and happiness in a
relationship.
Connecting Families:
Working as a Team
Session 3
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Working as a Team, Session 3 27 2004
Working as a Team
Connecting Families
Session 3
1. Ask participants to introduce
themselves. Briefly review group
member’s success in using “I”
statements and One Minute Gripe
techniques in the past week. Answer
any questions that may arise. Ask group
members to describe the house keeping
job that they like the least to do. As a
group, talk about how describing a
negative job made them feel less happy
and less positive.
Generally establishing a negative mental mind frame predisposes individuals to be more
negative. Within relationships a mood exists that is focused upon the positive or
negative. When it is positive, a couple has strength that assists them in weathering
difficult times. A constant, negative frame of mind has the power to set a negative tone
for the relationship.
Couple Positives
¡ Sharing love
l Learn to know each other’s love language
and speak it often
l Share your love through kindness
l Laugh alot together
l Have fun together
l Stay connected with each other’s worlds
l Give it your best
2. Couples who have a positive relationship
share love through actions. Review the
behaviors on Slide 2 and ask the group
to provide examples to illustrate each.
Sharing friendship and love requires
nurturing the positive aspects of the
relationship. When individuals are
focusing on the sharing of the positives
there is a stronger likelihood that their
relationship will grow and last.
Danger Signs
¡ Events are judged by a negative
standard
¡ Little disagreements escalate
quickly into big fights
¡ Put downs are common

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