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    #223049 - 09/30/15 09:42 PM Re: criticism and emotional intensity [Re: Pinecroft]
    Nyaanyaa Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/25/15
    Posts: 64
    I cannot support your criticism. Your daughter meant no harm, and no harm was done. I too would be upset if falsely accused of misbehavior.

    In a situation in which you perceive misbehavior, such as this one, I recommend inquiring about her intentions, and discussing how her behavior may be misinterpreted or be hurtful, as well as how such situations can be handled or prevented. It is important here to parent with compassion, not for compliance.

    Please be careful not to misunderstand your children's behavior. They likely understand much better what they can say to their sibling or not to not cause grief than you do. smile

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    #223059 - 10/01/15 07:15 AM Re: criticism and emotional intensity [Re: Pinecroft]
    Platypus101 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 671
    Loc: Canada
    Originally Posted By: Pinecroft
    How do you 'soften the blow' with your emotionally intense child when you're offering a criticism?


    No answers Pinecroft, but I live your question.

    DS, Mr. Anxiety, breaks down at the slightest hint of criticism, and will try to cover his ears to avoid hearing things he doesn't want to hear. "Why are you so mean? Why do you say such horrible things to me?"

    I've tried a thousand times to explain that sometimes things are really important for him to hear, even if he doesn't enjoy hearing them. That's it's totally OK to make mistakes but we need to learn from them. That we all mess up sometimes, and that's just fine, but we need to take responsibility and try to fix what we can.

    No go. Break down, blame others, avoid all responsibility, fall apart.

    I have realized that his past teachers at school have avoided criticism, have avoided making him finish work that's giving him problems (he has writing and EF issues), because they can't handle it when his tears start to well up. Result: he's not learned to deal with tough things, and he's learned he can avoid problems, and not have to finish stuff. This is biting us big time in new middle school this year.

    When his grandfather died earlier this year, and I tried to commiserate saying "I know this is really hard", his response was "This isn't hard, it's impossible." And he did everything in his power to avoid all discussion, exposure or anything that would remind him of the death, because by pretending it didn't exist he could avoid having to live in that unpalatable reality. Given his druthers, he would never have dealt with the problem. However, four days in his grandmother's house and extensive visitation, funeral, etc activities were unbelievably brutal to get through, but ultimately allowed him enough exposure to come to grip. By the end, he could co-exist with pictures, conversations, and even jokes about what grandad must be saying about us right now, watching the commotion he had caused. It was really, really hard to get there, though.

    Long, long way of saying: DS's nature is to do everything possible to avoid confronting difficult feelings and realities. His own failures are high up the list of things "impossible". I don't know how to help him assimilate these realities better. I only know enabling the avoidance carries a huge long-term price. Advice would be deeply welcomed.

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    #223066 - 10/01/15 09:14 AM Re: criticism and emotional intensity [Re: Pinecroft]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Pinecroft, Platypus and Dude -

    Yes - we have the problem, too. Lately it has helped DS7 to hear that it's more than "we have to learn from our mistakes." It's that we MUST make mistakes in order to learn, that it's one of the main jobs that children have. I tell him that if you aren't making mistakes, you're not learning.

    So we go through this: "That wasn't just the way you would want it to be. That DOES NOT make me feel angry or badly. You were just doing your learning job. It gives me a place to do my teaching job as your mom. Let's work through this."

    At this point I have approximately 3-4 questions/answers I can expect him to work on before I get the exact flopping over, eye-rolling, blame others reaction you guys describe. It's like they have a play book!

    But at least I get those few moments. So maybe try the "it's your job to learn by going through these trials and errors, and my job to help you."

    FWIW - I also soften him up by pointing out that growing up well is a really, really hard, sometimes un-fun job to do right. I have him notice that lots of people never do the hard work to grow up well, or else they didn't have a parent willing to do their side of the job. Then when they are grown, they aren't happy and don't get to do things they otherwise would.

    If I see a grown person behaving badly in public, I'll raise this. E.g., "Wow, look at that man being nasty to the waitress. Maybe when he was little, his parents never helped him learn how to ask for things nicely." Also - unfortunately - we have a family member I can point to who is selfish and mean and just "can't get along with others." So that's a really useful reference point.

    P.S. When I say it "that doesn't make me feel angry or badly," I'm probably lying through my teeth. In my head I know it shouldn't make me feel angry or badly, because he just doesn't know how to behave differently yet. So I'm sticking with the lie because, you know, I have to be "perfect" too because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and all .... And I do apologize if I get visibly angry when I shouldn't.


    Edited by suevv (10/01/15 09:20 AM)
    Edit Reason: adding P.S.

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    #223069 - 10/01/15 09:24 AM Re: criticism and emotional intensity [Re: Pinecroft]
    2GiftedKids Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/03/14
    Posts: 71
    I definitely use the sandwich to offer criticism. Usually, it ends up with child defensive and voice rising to almost a scream at me and then me telling child, oh no you don't....

    Discussing different scenarios of how something could have been handled differently and then asking if maybe, now that you think about it, is there was a better way to deal with the situation other than (insert over the top reaction) that occurred will hopefully pan out for me. It's far better received to turn the tables and make them empathize than to say you were wrong for doing X.

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    #223071 - 10/01/15 09:42 AM Re: criticism and emotional intensity [Re: Pinecroft]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    Yeah, sandwiching is a fail here, too. No matter how many positives you include, she only hears the negative.

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    #223072 - 10/01/15 10:17 AM Re: criticism and emotional intensity [Re: Pinecroft]
    Nyaanyaa Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/25/15
    Posts: 64
    Any criticism unless requested will drive the child (or any person) into the negative emotional attractor (NEA; short explanation: the fight-or-flight mode). The reactions you receive (e.g., screaming) are thus expected.

    The key here is to coach your child WITH compassion, not FOR compliance. Compassion can only occur in the positive emotional attractor (PEA), so any attempts at inspiring compassion through pushing into the NEA are doomed to failure.

    The four things that activate the PEA according to Boyatzis et al. are:
    (1) hope/vision,
    (2) mindfulness,
    (3) playfulness,
    (4) compassion.

    That is the theory, anyway. According to Boyatzis et al., sustained desired change requires a PEA to NEA ratio of at least 2 to 1.

    Source: http://www.case.edu/provost/ideal/doc/Boyatzis_2006_intentional_change.pdf.

    PS: The moderation of my posts profoundly cripples my ability to contribute to the forum. I presume it ends once I have reached a certain number of published posts?

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    #223075 - 10/01/15 11:01 AM Re: criticism and emotional intensity [Re: Pinecroft]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Yep - "sandwich" is such a fail here that DS goes into flopping/eye rolling/melt down mode as soon as hears the positive stuff start. He knows what's coming.

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    #223097 - 10/02/15 06:16 AM Re: criticism and emotional intensity [Re: Nyaanyaa]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4311
    Originally Posted By: Nyaanyaa
    sustained desired change requires a PEA to NEA ratio of at least 2 to 1
    Thanks for sharing this summary. Because this theory emphasizes the need for more positives than negatives to be effective, I wonder if this theory led to the development of the sandwich method of giving constructive criticism?

    Quote:
    The moderation of my posts profoundly cripples my ability to contribute to the forum. I presume it ends once I have reached a certain number of published posts?
    Welcome! Yes, the moderation ends after a few initial posts.

    Originally Posted By: suevv
    flopping/eye rolling/melt down mode as soon as hears the positive stuff start. He knows what's coming
    Some may say this kiddo could benefit from hearing compliments which are not bookends for constructive criticism. Just pure compliments. smile

    Originally Posted By: Pinecroft
    I asked DS after how he felt about her comment - he said he didn't care; I said how would you feel if *someone else* had said that, and he said 'oh, pretty terrible'
    Is it possible that there is a bond or closeness between these siblings which allows them to probe more deeply into each other's feelings and statements... meanwhile if others were to say the same or similar things, they would be overstepping personal boundaries?

    Regardless the specific example given, if you believe there is a problem with this child accepting constructive criticism, possibly another approach may be helpful for teaching/learning, such as books detailing social skills and perspective taking which point out the foibles of characters on a page rather than pointing out her own personal shortcomings?

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    #223112 - 10/02/15 10:23 AM Re: criticism and emotional intensity [Re: Pinecroft]
    Quantum2003 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/08/11
    Posts: 1425
    I am actually with your DD on this one. Siblings will be brutally honest and blunt with each other and sometimes that is a very good thing. I have twins and they will say things to each other that they would never to an acquantance or even a friend. I do not interfere because I know they are both okay with it and at times they have benefited partly because they know they can trust each other. You also specified that your DD "is socially astute enough to know that it wasn't a nice thing to say" so there isn't an issue of your DD becoming a social pariah in other settings. That's when I would interfere - if she is socially clueless and apply the same approach to strangers and friends.

    As to how to soften the blow in general - I don't partly because my kids are emotionally intense and I don't want them to struggle socially, especially as they grow older. This is a parenting choice but I found early on that trying to soften the blow just didn't help and sometimes made things worse. I go for short and simple and disregard the tears in the moment, but at a later neutral time, I will discuss extreme emotional reactions and what they can expect from others as they grow. I am honest with them and time has verified to them what I have said in the past. There are still occasional tears (hence, emotionally intense) but much much more reasonable to the situations. They still don't like my criticisms but they do consider them and sometimes even conclude that I am correct.

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    #223113 - 10/02/15 10:40 AM Re: criticism and emotional intensity [Re: indigo]
    Nyaanyaa Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/25/15
    Posts: 64
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    I wonder if this theory led to the development of the sandwich method of giving constructive criticism?


    If so, the theory is misapplied. Both positive and negative evaluation—including self-evaluation—activates the NEA.

    The driver of intentional change is the ideal self (i.e., vision), so the primary focus should be on that.

    A couple more papers by Boyatzis et al. for further information:
    PEA–NEA theory
    The ideal self as the driver of intentional change

    It is important to add that there exists a conflict of interest. Richard Boyatzis is a partner of Hay Group (http://www.haygroup.com/en/), a coaching firm that applies both his work on intentional change theory, and his and Daniel Goleman's work on social-emotional intelligence.

    I personally choose to trust in his publications, and his expertise in the email correspondences we have had; I have also participated in an online course on Coursera that he teaches, and which I have found to be effective and practically useful; nonetheless I remain cautious due to this conflict of interest.

    Regarding the “sandwich method” (a terrible name), I have personally never seen any mention of it in academic papers, and am suspicious of its validity and reliability. Can anyone provide information on its origin?

    Originally Posted By: indigo
    Welcome! Yes, the moderation ends after a few initial posts.


    Thank you very much, and thank you very much! smile

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