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Families Change Guide to Separation & Divorce

4.19 - “I” Statements

4.19 - “I” Statements

The last video in this series is called “‘I’ Statements”. You will see a communication technique that works just as well for parents as it does for children.


Zoe: Hi, Zoe here.

When we have problems, we’re always told to talk to our parents. But sometimes, that’s easier said than done, especially when your problem is about them. How can you talk to your parents about your feelings without them getting mad?

Well, then I found out about using “I” statements. “I” statements are a way to talk to your parents without them feeling mad or angry.

How often have you said something like this to your parents:

It's all your fault!"

“You said I could go!”

Well those are “You” statements. It sounds like you’re accusing them, and they may feel angry and blamed. And pretty soon, they're mad. They’re not listening to you.

Try “I” statements instead. When you say a sentence using the word “I”, you can talk to your parents because it doesn't sound like you’re accusing them. And it will also help you get clear about how you really feel.

Here’s an example of an “I” statement:

I feel angry when you tell me to take a message to Dad. It would help me if you could take of that yourself."

There are three parts to using “I” statements:

First, you say “I feel” and then how you’re feeling, like “I feel angry.”

Next, say what they do to make you feel that way, like “when you tell me to take a message to Dad.”

And last, say what they can do to make you feel better, like “It would really help me if you could take care of that yourself.”

I know, that's a lot to handle. Let's go over it again:

"I feel angry when you tell me to take a message to Dad. It would really help me if you could take care of that yourself."

When you need to get parents to really listen, just remember your “I” statement and write it down. You don’t have to announce that you are using a new communication technique either—just try it out and you'll see the results.