It’s frustrating isn’t it? We parents have great and hard earned wisdom and life experience. We want to bestow that knowledge to our young people. We don’t want them to make the same mistakes or we hope to prevent the pain from a move in a wrong direction.Yet… some (many) of those whippersnappers choose to ignore our well intended words and do things the hard way.
Perhaps it is time for us moms and dads to alter our the way we impart our wisdom to our teens.
My brother has said, “I’ve decided to hire only teens because teens know everything.”
Being the parent of a “know it all teen” can be a bit difficult. Especially when we really do know better.
Understanding that this attitude is typical of a teenage developmental stage— teens seeking autonomy– we must adjust our parenting mindset.
The good thing is our young people are learning to own their own ideas, beliefs, and behaviors. This shift is the beginning of personal and interpersonal responsibility. Ultimately, we want this. This is a good thing. But the getting there process can feel like a tug of war.
If your young person turned a deaf ear to you, try these 4 secrets to effective communication with your teen.
1. Train over tell.
Make your goal to train your child’s character rather than telling him or her what to do. Let’s say you notice your young person has been acting disrespectfully. Rather than saying, “You will respect me while you are living under my roof.” You instead train for respect. “I treat you with respect. I expect respect in return.” Make a mental note that your child needs to understand what respect looks like. Respect is observed in demonstrating kindness in actions and words. Take time to discuss why respect is an important quality for family members to embrace and exude. Of course approach the topic of respect, respectfully.
2. Listen over lecture.
The lecture usually begins after the lesson has been learned. Let the natural consequences do the speaking. The child already knows he messed up. The I told you sos, the shouldahs and the oughts are most likely fairly obvious. Instead listen to what your child learned and how they will do things differently next time. Have your child create a time line of events and choices made along the way. This is a helpful tool for discussing how poor decisions are made and how better choices can be lived out.
3. Ask over assume.
We can make a mistake by assuming positive perfection, “My child would never ….” or by a negative
assumption. Rather than assuming either always good or always bad– ask. “You missed your curfew by 30 minutes. Tell me about this.” This provides mom and dad more insight into the child’s thought process and opens the door for dialogue. Ask before assuming.
4. Influence over insistence
Parents, whether we realize it or not, have great influence over our young person. If we can have candid conversations with our kids about our family values and faith– including the whys of what we believe– we will have grater impact than if we insist that they comply. We want our kids to be committed to making the best and right choices.even when, especially when they are no longer living in our home,
We don’t just want our kids to act right because of extrinsic rewards or punishment…. we want them to be motivated intrinsically due to a well due to a Holy Spirit led conscience and right thinking. These four secrets will help strengthen those positive qualities we hope our kids embrace as they mature.
which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:5
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Licensed parent and family educator, co-founder of 1Corinthians13Parenting.com, co-author of 3 parenting books (with her 1st solo endeavor to be published in May 2017 Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home), mom of four (plus one daughter-in-love), wife to Tom, Contact Lori for your next event. She is also available for parent consulting and parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at MOMS Together community on Facebook.
© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.