Dad and daughter may be looking each other in the eye, but they’e not seeing eye to eye.

Explore paradigms, those personalized mental maps, that explain how different people give opposite interpretations to the same facts. Try the fun ways to unblock communication gaps.

We listen through our ears… and through our paradigms.

Stephen Covey (author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) presents paradigms as mental maps that describe the way things are (realities) and the way they should be (values).   Amazingly, highly intelligent people can

  • encounter identical facts,
  • interpret them completely differently,
  • AND both be right!

You and I have a mental map. Kids have theirs too, and they differ from their parents’! (Did you notice how when kids play house, parents always get to do what they want all the time?!)

We act according to our beliefs.

Take the Christmas story. For some, the angel’s conversation with Mary seems absurd. Angels belong in stories or in snow. We know how babies are made, and it’s not that way.  John Lennon and Yoko Ono may have thought that way.

Mary and Joseph also knew those facts, yet central to their paradigm was the belief in God, the one who keeps his promises and makes the impossible happen. When they heard the incredible news about Jesus’ conception, they could be overwhelmed and still believe and act on those convictions.

Yes, our beliefs impact our actions.  Including on our style of discipline.

Knowing your paradigm and understanding your kids’ revolutionizes the way we correct.  What if we could travel our child’s mind map and help uncover some hurtful beliefs?!  By tweaking the misunderstood assumptions, the desired behaviors naturally follow.

When differences don’t attract…

Covey presents two basic paradigms:
– the Personality Ethic (success is a function of our public image) and
– Character Ethic founded on principles such as integrity, temperance, courage, justice, and the Golden Rule.

Imagine the “collision” of these two paradigms!

Junior wants to look KOOOOL in the latest shoe fashion.  It happens to cost a small fortune.  Mom and Dad desire to teach him financial responsibility.


Junior’s Fashion Ethic oulook values spending.  Mom and Dad’s principle of living within one’s means finds worth in thoughtful spending.

How do you identify these paradigms?  Get started with these fun family activities.

Use these fun family activities to discover each other’s paradigms and to communicate more effectively and pleasurably.

Decipher Optical Illusions

Try this zero-pressure, neutral-subject confrontation to introduce the concept of varying viewpoints on identical data.
Read on…

Draw Your Hopes & Uncover Paradigms (best with younger kids)

Compare your view of the “perfect” living room to Junior’s. Are the cushions on the sofa or on the floor? 🙂
Read on…