The Arbinger Principles might be new to some people so Tyler Jacobson explains how they can help parents have the tools to help their children acquire necessary life skills.
What Are The Arbinger Principles?
Arbinger was created in 1979 by Dr. C. Terry Warner. As a scientist he wanted to explore how the human psyche is capable of self-deception and how it resists changing.
What Does Dr. Warner Mean?
Self-deception? Is that really a thing? Yes! Here is an excellent example: How many times have you asked your teen “How are you?” only to hear “Fine” when you can clearly see they are not fine. This is a usually benign example of self-deception. Usually the reason why a teenager is answering that way is because he lacks the communication skills necessary to explain that there’s a larger problem.
From his work Dr. Warner developed the seven Arbinger Principles:
- Every person has hopes, needs, cares, and fears.
- Other person’s hopes, needs, cares, and fears are less important than our own; we see others as objects rather than as people.
- To see a fellow person as an inferior object is to harbor a violent heart toward them.
- We communicate how we feel about others even when we try to hide it.
- When others detect violence in our hearts, they tend to become defensive and to see us as objects. Violence in one heart provokes violence in others.
- Most occasions of outward violence are manifestations of a prior, and often escalating, conflict between violent hearts; that provokes further violence.
- Any effort to reduce outward violence will succeed only to the extent that it addresses the core problem—the problem of violent hearts.
With these principles, people can learn to solve conflict—even internal conflict—and activate their motivation for change in positive ways. As a school of thought, it is about resolving all forms of tension to create peace.
Applying The Arbinger Principles
Respect is at the core of the Arbinger Principles and respect is something many parents wish their children showed them more of. However, some teens, especially, wish their parents respected them more too but some parents struggle to give their teens the freedom to have their own hopes and dreams for the future. Mutual respect does not need to be an oxymoron. Respect results in greater peace and increased satisfaction and, of course, fewer conflicts.
Effectively using the Arbinger Principles also involve in changing your thought processes. Arbinger focuses on bringing the way we think in alignment with the way we act. Using them effectively is the difference between thinking you are a good person and doing the things good people do, for example. These principles are actually used extremely effectively by Arivaca Boys Ranch to help troubled teens.
Photo: Flickr/Casandra Jowett