Communication that nurtures feelings of "warmth" between parent and child is a critical component of your child’s positive development. In fact, the "warmth" factor is scientifically shown to aid in a child’s choice not to use drugs or drink alcohol while underage.
Praising your child’s good behavior choices is important, as it creates feelings of parental warmth. But even when your child makes a poor choice in behavior, and intervention is called for, there is opportunity to not only make it a teaching moment, but to further nurture those feelings of warmth. The way you interact with your child and help him/her solve conflict is vital.
The Life Space Interview was originally developed for teachers to use in the classroom, but can be applied at home as well.
In a situation where your child has made some type of poor behavior choice and you are stepping in to address the issue, just remember, "I ESCAPE":
I -Isolate the Conversation: Take the child to a "quiet space" to talk.
E - Explore the Child’s Point of View: Get as many details as you
can about what happened. Practice active listening, not problem solving!
S - Summarize the Feeling and Content: "This is what I hear you
saying." "You’re telling me you felt…right?"
C - Connect Behavior to Feelings: Though you are not excusing the behavior, show you understand what your child was feeling and why a poor choice was made.
A - Alternative Behaviors Discussed: Together, talk about ways
your child could have handled the situation differently, resulting in a more positive outcome.
P - Plan and Practice New Behavior: Acknowledge that your child may feel a bit silly role-playing, but explain that practice will help him/her put it in action. Anticipate and plan for obstacles.
E - Enter Child Back into his/her Routine: Your child should feel hopeful and encouraged when your conversation is finished.
The goal, through the Life Space Interview, is to provide your child new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving so that better choices can be made when the opportunity presents itself next time.
Source: Life Space Interview: Fritz Redl and David Wineman
SOURCE: "Know! is a program of Drug-Free Action Alliance."
CTCADA offers both adolescent intervention and treatment programs. Education, individual counseling, family therapy, group counseling and referral to other resources are all part of a comprehensive effort to prevent or intervene in youth alcohol and drug abuse. Call us at 254-690-4455!