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3.1 Understanding the Skill

Observe and Describe is a simple technique that is so powerful. Observe and Describe helps you remain calm and focused on behaviors which keeps you from giving into emotional outbursts or anger.

Observe and Describe can be one of the hardest techniques for most parents to learn as it requires parents to be deliberate in how they interact with their child. Observe and describe can be especially helpful if you don’t know what to say to your child.

Using Observe and Describe is just like it sounds. After observing the behavior of your child you describe what you saw, being as detailed as possible. Be descriptive in what you’re seeing. Use an appropriate voice tone and simple words your child will understand.

Observe and Describe can be used for both positive and negative behaviors. Even if you’re using Observe and Describe your child may try to shift the focus to other things. Remain calm and use Observe and Describe to describe the original issue.  If your child becomes more defiant, continue to use this technique and describe the defiant behavior.

Download and answer the Reflections Questions before moving on to the next section.