RE3 – Family

Learning how to respond most effectively to your offspring’s emotional reactions to bad news.

RE³ assumes you already know how to spot the emotions that are displayed. The focus is not on how to recognize emotion but how to respond to emotions. If you want some help on recognizing emotion, go to the Face Suite and use METT3.0 and SETT 3.0. (You don’t need to also use METT profile and METT+ before using RE³, but those training tools will expand and improve your ability to spot facial expressions.)

Uncertain about the difference between RE³, METT, and SETT?

RE³ helps you determine how to respond to someone’s emotional expressions. RE³ assumes you already have acquired the skills to recognize facial expressions. METT and SETT are tools for sharpening your ability to recognize from facial expressions what someone is feeling. If you haven’t yet used METT and SETT, do so now and then come back and use RE³.

You will need to know the differences among macro, micro and mini (subtle) expressions to learn how to respond to them:

  • Macro expressions: these are the usual facial expressions that you can see without difficulty, because they typically are shown across the entire face, and last a few seconds. Most people don’t need help to spot macro expressions, but if you do, METT will help you.
  • Micro expressions: these very brief expressions (about 1/25 of a second) reveal attempts by people to conceal how they are feeling. They may be the result of deliberate suppression, or they may occur when people are unaware of how they are feeling, the result of unconscious repression.
  • Mini or Subtle expressions: These very small expressions, are usually limited to just one area of the face. They occur either when an emotion is just beginning to be felt, or leakage of concealed emotions.

 

The goal in RE³ is to become more considered in how you respond to another person’s emotions, more aware that there are always choices, and tradeoffs. While RE³ should make you more thoughtful about what to say, it does not train you how to say it – that would require in-person coaching.

If you want to learn more about emotions, what triggers them, and also how to respond to them, read Paul Ekman’s book Emotions Revealed, and his book co-authored with the Dalai Lama Emotional Awareness. If you are interested in Ekman’s ideas about how to increase compassion, read his latest book Moving Toward Global Compassion.

Introduction

In RE³ Family you will see a son or daughter’s emotional reactions when they hear unwelcome news from a father or mother. You will also choose whether the parent you are about to see has a close or strained relationship with her or his son or daughter.

Even if you are not a parent we believe that you will benefit from RE³. What you will learn should apply to other intimate relationships.

  • Everything that is said, all the choices and feedback, are exactly the same for the male or female parent, and for the male or female adolescent. So, just choose one (mother or father, son or daughter) and stick with it.
  • You will be able to select which emotion the son or daughter is feeling, however we will show you sadness first. You will be offered a number of choices about what to say in response.

 

After you make a choice, you will receive feedback from Dr. Ekman about the advantages or disadvantages of your choice. We encourage you to select all of the choices, even ones you might not consider making, in order to learn from the feedback provided for each choice.

View every emotion the adolescent shows

  • Select every choice about what to say and listen and watch the feedback about each choice.
  • You will learn from the feedback even about choices you would never make.

 

View the adolescent’s reactions when there is a close or strained relationship

  • What might be best to say depends not just on the adolescent’s emotional reactions, but the quality of the relationship the parent has with the adolescent. You will choose whether there is a close relationship, or a strained relationship.
  • You can switch from close to strained whenever you wish.
  • Once completed, click the ‘I’m Finished’ button to see a summary of the choices.

 

It is up to you: what to watch, what feedback to get, and how much of RE³ you use. Remember you don’t have to finish it all in one sitting. You have RE3 for one year. Use the Navigation button to view where you are in the program and to change your selections. The choices are yours!

To make this most applicable to you, please answer the following questions:
  • I am a
  • I have a
  • We have a
  • Child feels the emotion of

Change the relationship with your child

Change the emotional response of your child

Father Daughter Good Relationship Sadness

Responses

Before choosing your response, read through all the choices, then select the best one.
  • A) Say nothing; act as if there was no sad expression.
  • B) “I am sorry, but there is nothing I could do about it.”
  • C) “I am sorry, I wish it didn’t work out this way.”
  • E) “Please don’t blame me; you mother’s out of town, the baby-sitter is sick and it is vital to my job that I be at the boss’s dinner.”
  • F) “All of us face disappointments in life; you have to learn how to get used to it.”

Congratulations on completing the RE³ (Responding Effectively to Emotional Expressions) tool. Below is a summary of the different scenarios that may arise with your children, and a recap of the best ways to respond. 

Close Relationship

  • Sad Expression: Naming your child’s emotion — sadness, or disappointment — which may be more precise for this situation, will be helpful. Also expressing your regret about the situation and that you too are disappointed, is useful.
  • Angry Expression: Naming your child’s emotion is helpful — frustration — and saying: “I wish there was another way we could both do what we want to do.”

Strained Relationship

  • Sad Expression: It is hard to know what might be the best response because the relationship is strained, and sadness might cover more than one feeling. It may be best to say “I can see you are upset” — but not specifying the emotion. It also may be helpful to say, “I wish there was another way both of us could do what we had planned.”If your child’s sad expression was a micro or mini expression and not a macro expression, it may be better to say nothing. Your child might not be aware of what he or she is feeling, and it risks him or her feeling as if you don’t care.
  • Angry Expression: If your child has a micro or mini anger expression, consider saying nothing as your offspring might not be aware of the anger. If your child has a macro anger expression it would be better to name the feeling — frustration — and saying you wish there was another way.
  • Contempt Expression: It could be helpful to say that you also don’t like it and wish there was a way you could both do what you had planned. But you might be better off saying nothing if your relationship is severely strained.