Teenagers are often not rushing to open up to their parents which makes the adolescent years even harder. Most teens have questions they need answers to, or support in some areas of their life. As a family therapist, I stress the importance of parents learning to communicate effectively with their children, and their co-parents.
In the multifamily group I run. we practice these in a game I like to call 'So You Think You Can.... Use I Statements'.
'I' statements were invented by Thomas Gordon in the 60's as a way to help children communicate with their parents. The technique is so useful it's used most often in couples therapy, and could (and should) be used in any relationship in which it's important to convey your feelings.
Help you communicate, not alienate:
'I' Statements help communicate your thoughts and feelings without shutting the other person down, or getting them feeling defensive:
If you make citations, about your frustrations, they don't land like accusations:
If you start the conversation by focusing on your feelings, rather than the behavior of the other person, it may land on more open ears.
The following three steps are helpful in remembering how to use an 'I' Statement.