- You’re doing it wrong
- You can’t do anything right
- You’re being a jerk
These responses to unfavorable situations are the path of least resistance, and the path of least reward.
They seek to offer no remedy, only serving as a notification of disappointment. Sometimes that is important, but surely you want more to come from your communication than that. Motivationally they are inert, offering no way out, nor even indicating if a solution is possible. They encourage defensiveness, which increases the lifespan of the problem.
We wouldn’t speak to our kids that way, yet for some reason we do not edit our responses with adults.
Reframe responses to set the trajectory towards the solution:
- What happens if you try it this way?
- I know you can figure it out.
- This situation requires more compassion.
Same situation, different response, more likely to create desired outcomes. In a parenting scenario, such responses seem obvious. They work with adults too.