(Hang in with me on this part:) Eric Bern’s “Transactional Analysis” changed my children’s lives. There are three aspects to our personality: Parent (not to be confused with the people who birthed us)–Adult and Child. The Parent has two parts, Critical Parent and Nurturing Parent. The Adult is like Spock, very logical and precise. The Child has two parts, the OK child and the Not OK Child. 

One day, many years ago, I said to Scott, “You never put out the trash!” He responded, “Critical parent tries to hook not OK kid; not ok kid unwilling to play.” I changed my words to, “The trash needs to go out on Wednesday. What do you need to do to remember that?” We worked on a solution rather than having angry bruised feelings over my words. 

““For once, you should pick up your mess in the playroom.” Instead, Nurturing parent would say,”You need to pick up the mess you made in the playroom. You have 30 minutes to do so. For each minute I need to spend coaching you to finish the job, you loose 15 minutes off your gaming time.”

“I’m surprised you bought a new jacket!” CP tries to hook NokC; “Don’t you just love it on me? I was so excited when I found it.” (Mater-of-fact ADULT response.)

“There are no snacks. When did you go to the market last?” (Adult response:) “I plan to go tomorrow.” 

By the words we choose, the Message given either comes from the Critical parent, nurturing parent or factual Adult. Either the not ok child,  the ok child or the Adult will respond.

Knowing the dynamics being used make you less vulnerable to the demands and judgments of others. Transactional Analysis sounds more complicated than it is, and it was the 

technique that helped me change modeled ways of communicating. 

Please share with friends and family!

Scott A. McDaniel photo