How to give your teen effective advice and helping them to be good listeners — is part of parenting.
When parents give advice to their kids and teenagers, many moms and dads can be confused and not understand why kids can struggle to be receptive and take on advice. The best way to understand where this natural tendency to be averse to (sound) advice as a kid stems from is to think about it from your point of view.
Take the exact advice you are giving to your kids and imagine your partner giving it to you if you were frustrated or had a little bit of pent-up animosity inside you.
Chances are, you would probably feel a little bit frustrated and maybe even angry. The transaction of giving advice and accepting it can be difficult on both sides, and it is important to understand why. There are ways to make this interaction less of a fight and more of a productive exchange.
Funnily enough, things actually get even harder when we as parents offer unsolicited advice to our kids. Although you might think that you could live their life so much better than them, doing this will actually interfere with their growth patterns and need for autonomy as they develop. Kids need to make their own decisions and listen to their own intuition in a somewhat guided, but still independent, manner.
“This part of parenting goes against the natural basic instinct of protecting our children from harm that runs through all species on earth.”
We are going to run through a few different helpful tips and tricks which will allow you to take a step back from certain difficult situations and breathe. As parents, we can use all the help we can get, can’t we?
Stick with Stories, Not Instruction
Something that I found worked well for me in raising my three little rascals was using personal stories and relatable tales instead of just telling them point blank ‘do this, do that’. I have found that they are a lot more likely to head in the direction of my advice if I employ this tactic rather than just laying out the law and expecting it to be followed to a T.
Casual conversing feels more like a level playing field for your growing munchkins, and less like they are being ‘told what to do’. What greater use of your stories from childhood than to use them to help your own kids.
Try Answering a Question with a Question Back
The one thing that many parents do not consider, or underestimate is that kids will already know what they are planning to do before they ask for advice. Though this is not true for everyone, a vast majority of children who ask their parents for advice already have a vague idea of what they want to do. It is important to give advice, but stay on the side-lines by answering back with a question to help guide their own decision making.
Be Patient, Wait for Them
Often times it can be easy to rush your kids straight to a solution when you think you have all the answers. This process is super unhelpful for them and will not be beneficial for their decision-making skills in the long run. Yasmin Farley, a psychology writer at Writinity and Researchpapersuk, noted that,
“The best thing to do is to lead them slowly and guide them gently, but ensure they get to the end point on their own. Independent decision making is crucial for growing teens.”
Try to Steer Away From “I told you so”
As a parent it is so difficult to hold your tongue when something that you warned your child about turns out exactly the way you said it would; trust me, I know. The best bet in these situations is to keep your mouth closed, because “I told you so’s” can be hurtful and damaging for a child’s self esteem and growing mind and body.
No parent is perfect, no matter how hard we try. However, using some simple tips and tricks like these ones along the way can definitely help you out and assist you in building your teen up to be a great adult.
Contributor: Ashley Halsey
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