American Life Health News

Don Lemon ‘Debrief’ for Parents and Children

Alex Eisenberg VCOM White Coat Ceremony
Alex Eisenberg with 3-year-old brother, Zachary at VCOM White Coat Ceremony

CNN Achor Don Lemon (@DonLemonCNN) talked about the importance of parents regularly debriefing their children during coverage from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut Sunday.

CNN Anchor Don Lemon
CNN Anchor Don Lemon

Here are five steps to the “Don Lemon Debrief,” formally known as the PAIRS Daily Temperature Reading or DTR:

  1. Appreciations
  2. New Information
  3. Puzzles
  4. Concerns with Recommendations
  5. Wishes, Hopes and Dreams

The debrief can be done on the ride to or from school, over a meal, or any other time a parent and child can focus on each other without distractions. The sequence is a vital part of the exercise, which should take no more than 10-15 minutes. In the beginning, it can take a little longer as you get used to the process and catch up with each other or if there are many participants. The exercise can also be done in a classroom.

  • Appreciations: Acknowledge your child for something specific and invite your child to share anything he or she also appreciates or wants to be appreciated for.
  • New Information: Talk something about what’s new in your life since you last debriefed and then ask your child to tell you what’s new for him or her: at school, with friends, or any other aspect of life.
  • Puzzles: Ask anything you’re wondering about and invite your child to ask anything he or she is wondering about. If you have an answer, say it. If your child has an answer and is comfortable answering, listen to what’s shared. If either of you have a long answer (more than five minutes or so) or you don’t have one at the moment, set a time in the near future to discuss the issue further.
  • Concerns with Recommendations: Focus on a behavior, not the person, and always speak from the “I” position when you have a concern you want to share. Encourage your child to do the same when he or she has a concern. Always include, specifically, the behavior that’s being asked for instead.
  • Wishes, Hopes and Dreams: It might be about a place you’d like to visit, friend or family member, or anything else in the present or future. Knowing each other’s wishes, hopes and dreams, along with each of the other areas covered above, goes a long way to staying connected.

You can tweet @DonLemonCNN or @PAIRSFOUNDATION to share your experience.

Daily Temperature Reading wallet card.
Free DTR debrief wallet card until 12/31/12.

Free Debrief Wallet Card

For a free, heavy-weight wallet card of the steps, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to PAIRS Foundation, ATTN: Don Lemon Debrief, 200 S. Park Road, Suite 455, Hollywood, Florida 33021. Offer valid through December 31, 2012.

Impact in Schools

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Supervisor talks about impact of Daily Temperature Reading.

About the Daily Temperature Reading

The original version of the Daily Temperature Reading was developed by Virginia Satir, considered the “Mother of Family Therapy,” in the 1970’s.  The sequence has been modified and widely adapted in PAIRS marriage and relationship education classes that have been taught to tens of thousands worldwide.

Additional Resources:

Seth Eisenberg is President/CEO of the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation, an industry leader in marriage and relationship education.