Practical Strategies for Parents

The 3XG Journal: Tell Me Something Good

Relationship experts John and Julie Gottman remind us about what predicts relationship failure.  The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are these powerful negatives:

  1. Criticism — faultfinding
  2. Defensiveness — it’s all personal
  3. Stonewalling — the cold shoulder
  4. Contempt — verbal and nonverbal condemnation (disgust)

Instead, train your strengths—the whole family of empowering traits—by shifting to the positive. One of the simplest methods of improvement training you can do at home is to become more focused on what works, as you have read throughout this chapter. You can create a positive family ritual around this by keeping a “Three Times Good” or 3XG Journal. Here are the questions you need to ask and why. The questions are answered one time through for each of of the “Three times Good” events.

Here is an example of a single event:

• What happened? (Just the simple facts.)

» I finished all of my homework.

• What was good about it? (A peek into their values.)

» I had time for hanging out before bed.

• Why did it happen? (Did I have anything to do with it? Or was it just random?)

» I used my arguing energy for doing the work.

Do you want to know where students think they have control over good things in their lives? If good things are all apparently random occurrences, can you help students set goals for using strengths to get more of what they want? Are shadow sides getting in the way? You will find out whether your student is using their strengths to get more of what he or she wants at school and in life. You will also find out amazing amounts of information, will help your children and co-parent feel more valued, and build the foundation of positive emotion for your ongoing relationship.