Positivity Ratio

Positivity Ratio
Momentous Institute
By Momentous Institute Feb 20, 2017

We love the idea from Dr. Gottman about the magic ratio of positivity to negativity. He says, “The magic ratio is 5:1. In other words, as long as there are five times as many positive interactions between partners as there are negative, the relationship is likely to be stable.”

The idea isn’t that we get rid of all negativity. In fact, he says that conflict is inevitable and helps us grow in our relationships. But we don’t want it to be all-consuming.

Think about this when working with teenagers. How often are the words we say negative? How often are they positive?

Every time we must utter something that leans negative – reminding them to do chores, asking them to stop doing something, etc. – try to find four other positive interactions. A hug, putting down your phone and listening to them tell you about their day, complimenting them on a job well done, laughing at their silly joke.

Some teenagers feel that all their parents and teachers do is nag them. Can we change their perception of us by being intentional with our positivity ratio? We think so. Some negativity – and some nagging – is necessary, but if we can layer on more positivity on top of it, we can tip the scales and truly change the interactions we have with teens. 

©2017 Momentous Institute

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