Siblings can be very unkind to each other. As a parent, it can be hard to know what to do. Help is here! Try the following exercise with your children and teenagers, and spouse, if needed.


Directions: Answer the following and discuss before watching TV, using the telephone, or other activity.

When I said:

[inappropriate comment child/teen made]

1. I was (mark all that apply):

__ Blaming
__ Criticizing
__ Threatening
__ Accusing
__ Generalizing
__ Giving an order or command
__ Showing little concern of other’s needs
__ Showing unwillingness to compromise or find solutions
__ Insulting, name-calling, mocking, being sarcastic
__ Other:

2. When I said the above comment, I was probably feeling:

__ Tired
__ Rushed
__ Impatient
__ Annoyed
__ Other: _______________________________

3. When I said the above comment, others probably felt:

__ Angry
__ Hurt
__ Sad
__ Rejected
__ Scared
__ Frustrated
__ Shocked
__ Other:_______________________________

. . . and they are not likely to want to (check all that apply):

__ Do the following for me: ____________________________________

__ Help me: ____________________________________________________

__ Other: ______________________________________________________

4. Instead of making the above comment, I could have said:


5. I would have been less likely to make the above comment if others had approached me by saying:


6. If others say I made the above comment and I deny it, the following are possible:

__ Being corrected makes me feel bad.
__ I have an evil twin.
__ I am not aware of my words and behavior.
__ Others are hallucinating.
__ I am trying to avoid dealing with it.

7. When I don’t admit mistakes I make, others feel:

__ Frustrated
__ Angry
__ Confused
__ Distrustful
__ Other: _______________________________

8. When I admit mistakes, others feel:

__ Relieved
__ Trustful
__ Proud of me
__ Other: _______________________________

Author's Bio: 

John Schurmann is the founder of Schurmann Counselling & Life Coaching -

He is a registered clinical social worker, individual, couple and family psychotherapist, and life coach. He has worked closely with individuals, couples, families, groups and organizations for the past twenty years.

John holds three degrees including a masters degree in clinical social work from Wilfrid Laurier University. He has extensive training in specialized areas of counselling; marital and family therapy, mental health issues, child and adult ADHD, psychiatry, spirituality, sexuality, family violence and alcohol/drug abuse.

Since his college years, John's focus has been on turning individuals, relationships and families around -- equipping them with the skills and ability to make their lives healthier. It is often said about John Schurmann, "you are outstanding in helping me, making me feel calm, giving me new skills to handle my situation, giving me new hope, a new outlook and a sense of adventure". "John got me back on track, helped me improve my life, marriage, relationship, work situation and believed in me in resolving my life issues.

John is married to Rita and enjoys spending time with his family, Matthew and Daniel. He loves to learn, travel, snow ski, spend time with his extended family and friends, and he loves his relationship with his God.

John Schurmann is a registered Social Worker with the College of Social Workers and Social Services Workers. A member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers and an associate member with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.