Many countries and organizations have constitutions. These constitutions are made up of ideals and beliefs which spell out how that country or organization is to function.
Values are the beliefs, principles and ideals which make up our own personal “constitution” and determine how we behave and interact with others. Values are your judgment of what’s important in life.
A behavior is not a value.
How do you know it’s about values? When the child’s belief or behavior has no clear, tangible effect on you (not “liking” something or other feelings are not “tangible effects”) I-Messages and Method III may not be effective and this may be an indication of a difference of values.
There are, of course, conflicts of values and they can be divided into two types — values differences and values collisions.
We feel very strongly about some of our values and less strongly about others and this can determine whether or not we have a Difference of Values or a Collision of Values with our child or other person.
We may not like something our child or another person says, believes or does, but our feeling is; “I can ‘live with it’.”
Factors that can influence this are:
My relationship with the other person; i.e. my child or a casual acquaintance.
A co-worker with a different religion: we don’t talk about our religion and it doesn’t effect our working together.
The situation: i.e. young child living at home or 24-year-old son/daughter living on his/her own. If you genuinely feel that it does not interfere with you or your relationship and that while you have a difference of opinion, no change on either of your parts is required, then you can put it in the No Problem Area.
In other situations, the value involved may be one about which you feel very strongly and it is a fundamental part of your “Personal Constitution”. Additionally, the other person is your own child, partner or very close friend or colleague and your life or work together is directly affected by your conflicting values.
In these situations, you want to influence your child/other because you don’t feel you can “live with it”. You feel the child/other has a problem and that his/her ideal, belief and accompanying behaviors will have a negative impact on his/her life.
In P.E.T., we teach the Gordon Model strategies for dealing with Values Collisions.