“I” Statements vs. “You” Statements – Part 3

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we discussed the definition of “I” Statements compared to “You” Statements.  We offer a working definition and some reason to consider this a life skill for everyone.  In Part 2, we showed two ways to construct “I” statements and why they are essential to be specific in our intent.

In this final Part 3, I want to discuss using this awareness for self-defeating statements.

When someone struggles or thinks self-defeating, these statements offer tremendous benefit.

So often, it is our self-talk that defeats us.  Statements like, You knew that would happen, You blew it again,  You can’t seem to do anything right.

Does anyone else struggle with defeatist self-talk, or is it just me?

When we mentally think we should have done something better or lost control of a trait that we wished we didn’t have, we can quickly become self-critical.  All of us are vulnerable to this, particularly kids, because they often don’t have the background to think any differently until now.

Life can be challenging enough without being our own worst critic.  When we use “You statements” on ourselves, we destroy our self-esteem bit by bit over time.  When we use either the three or four-part statement builder, we help ourselves understand our feelings much better, which builds our self-esteem.

So rather than saying, “You blew it again.” you can say, “I found my temper again.  I don’t like it when I lose my temper because afterward, I feel terrible and realize that I have now pushed someone who cares about me away from me.” Can we work out a different approach to help me with my temper?”

If we are saying it to ourselves, reconstruct it to say, “I am a work in progress, and I don’t have to be perfect, but I want to continue to master this trait.”

When we re-word our statements, we also give ourselves some room to recoup or recover from a setback.  Over time, the “I” statement will come out before the “You” statement, and one day you will notice that you haven’t said a “You” statement in a very long time.  I hope you find this life a helpful skill and will take the opportunity to have fun developing your awareness with yourself and others.

Here is a link to Part 1 in this series, “You” Statements vs. “I” Statements Part 1 – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Here is a link to Part 2 in this series, “You” Statements vs. “I” Statements Part 2 – Dr. Rich Patterson (

The Peaceful Parent website has some helpful thoughts on this important topic here, “I” Statements – Expressing limits non-aggressively – The Way of the Peaceful Parent


Yours for better parenting,