Don’t Blame:
“WHO tracked all this mud into the house?! How thoughtless!”

"Sergio's Shoe" by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

Being able to speak up and ask people to do things differently and to ask for help without blaming is absolutely key to improving day-to-day life and relationships.

Assigning blame does not fix the wrong or prevent it from happening in the future. It only causes people to feel defensive.

Focus on cleaning up, not on WHO made a mistake. When people know you are not going to blame them, they will feel better about helping.

Ask for help in an upbeat way. For example, “I’d love to get some help cleaning up this mud.” Or: “It doesn’t matter who did this. It matters who will help fix it!” Or: “Who will help me put this right?”

People prefer to get praised for doing the right thing than chastised for mistakes. They’ll eventually learn.

In dealing with children specifically, you can ask how it can be avoided next time. It seems to help when they make the observation themselves, and they usually know the answer.

Don’t quiz an adult, however. You don’t want to get in a parent/child relationship with an adult. It’s better to simply ask for help.

If you don’t speak up at all, you’ll become resentful and you’ll be dealing with a lot of mud in the house, and other things that annoy you.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Why Threats Backfire.”

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