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Cooperative Words

We hope you were able to have a restful Memorial Day weekend and took some time away from school and work to have a little fun! It’s hard to believe that we are entering our sixth week of this program (and many families have been home together for even much longer than that). One aspect of life at home that has been in the spotlight is a sense of competitiveness, whether between children in the home (sibling rivalry, anyone?), friends over email and video chat (who’s been watching the most TV, or doing all their schoolwork first), or even a child with himself (trying to one-up him/herself at a task each time). Often adults find themselves attempting to calm the waves and mediate while helping the different parties get along.

Our target skill for today is identifying competitive words versus cooperative words. Competitive words (faster, stronger, etc.) are usually words that make us feel sad or angry. These are words to try and limit when talking with family and friends or thinking about our own abilities. On the other hand, cooperative words usually make us feel happy and calm and help us to work with others. Examples of competitive versus cooperative words are below:

Suggestions for using this skill:

● Encourage your child to use cooperative words when interacting with others. Model this language at home (ex., let’s work together to clean up the game).

● It may be helpful to explain that our brains are wired to be focused on comparing and keeping track of who is best, quickest, etc., but making comparing statements can make others (and ourselves) feel sad.

● At times, making comparisons (who got the highest grade, who was done first, etc.) can become such a habit that it negatively impacts a person’s mood and perception of situations. Work with your child to recognize personal strengths and growth. Work on also recognizing strengths of a group.

● If you find that your child is overly competitive with him/herself, and therefore upset and negative when things don’t go their way, help them to set realistic goals (they are probably not going to go from 50% made baskets to 90% overnight). When working on a skill, everyone’s path is different. We all have good days and bad days. What is important is to show courage by continuing to try and asking for help when needed.

● Go to or a short activity on turning off high stress energy to reset.

I may be helpful to remind the members of your family that you are all working on the same team, especially during this difficult time. You may wish to point out that your family has gotten through many difficult times already, and that it was done by working together and caring for one another. Using cooperative words is one way that we show each other that we care and understand that we are stronger when we work together.

We hope you all have a great day. 


Marissa Lloyd, LPCMH

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