Read again Joni’s comment highlighting an important communication skill-area. Small, but significant.
”Great article! I have to wonder if "Pete" was connecting with her more than she would like to admit! In dealing with a high spirited, (challenging to say the least), child I found that a lot of times when I heard similar remarks, I was actually connecting deeply with him. The connection was so deep that he did not want to go there in conversation with me. Some people place bars on their hearts to protect themselves, unfortunately the person (s) they try to keep out could be their greatest asset in helping to remove those bars on their heart. Take "heart" Pete, you may be connecting with great blessings for this lady! Pray for her that people are placed in her path to reveal to her to receive the blessings God has for her.”
Good observations, Joni. We would be very surprised to learn exactly what’s behind people’s off-the-cuff comments. Once out, though, the bell can’t be un-rung, as the saying aptly reminds. But an obvious red flag on which I did not elaborate was the lady’s use of a parental “you” statement which invariably puts a feeler on the defensive because they take everything personally. "You" statements shoves a feeler to age 10 with a desire to break something. Pete didn’t break anything but he spent some unnecessary uncomfortable moments feeling guilty and trying to analyze his apparent unknown faults.
Pete’s God-designed personality desires everyone’s approval, even the people he or she doesn’t particularly like which describes 50 percent of the world. They take very seriously anyone’s opinion until they learn the wisdom of becoming more discerning.
By contrast, Thinkers (head-logic) regard off-the-cuff negative statements as so much fluff. In one ear—out the other. They do not spend much time analyzing others’ comments. It baffles them that people wear their approval feelings on their sleeves right in plain sight. Feelers can (and must) learn to quickly switch to their thinking head-logic preference. “If you don’t like how you’re feeling, change your thoughts” is the mantra for heart-logic feelers which employs the cognitive decision-maker preference. Accessing this preference, which every feeler possesses, becomes easier and more natural with time and use. And in many ways actually becomes fun. Thus this discussion!
Check chapter 8 in How To Get Along With Everyone; by Blending Personalities on the important communication skill describing employing the use of non-offensive "I messages" in preference to parental “you” statements. Taking time to think up applicable adult “I” messages that you might need and have them on the tip of your tongue will simplify your dialogue for years to come while it also protects the hearer from false assumptions. It just occurred to me as I write this how Jesus responded adult to adult as he used “I” statements which demonstrated His genuine love and respect for the people he helped which also protected their feelings. When you use adult “I” statements, even to a high spirited child, they will respond with less anger and show more willingness to listen. And also try, this. When you are ready to go, just say "I'm ready to leave." Or at a meeting, "I'm ready to begin." Works in the classroom too. (I learned that from Haim Ginot, Between Parent and Child.) And try to keep from smiling when everyone gets quiet and listens to you.
Now, an encouraging word to parents and grandparents. There are absolutely times when the child or teen needs to hear a declarative “You may not go”. We mean, now!” “Absolutely not!” “That is enough!” These for-sure parental statements are always better if both parents say “We say yes or we say no.” Children and teens experience enormous security when parents consistently agree. Kids are really smooth about persuading one parent to his or her side. As I related a story in the Coaching Kids book when our 16 year old son objected to our dual emphatic ‘no’, by saying, “What’s wrong with you two is that you stick together,” was one of the best compliments we could be accused of. He didn’t particularly mean it as a compliment, then, but he did later when he became a parent.
Parenting—the most thankless and difficult responsibility is actually the most important calling and privilege in the world.