Parents are always telling their kid what to do and how they feel about things. Think about it.
“Smoking is bad – don’t do it.”
“Premarital sex is wrong – don’t have it.”
“Clean up your room.”
“Do your homework.”
“Get off your phone.”
“Go to bed.”
“those aren’t good friends. They are a bad influence. Don’t hang out with them.”
What happens when we relate to our kids like this is they simply tune us out.
They hear “blah, blah, blah”, or “Oh my God”, or “You are SO old”. And, therefore, we really don’t have a relationship with them. Or, rather, we don’t have the relationship we would like to have. We absolutely won’t have one that will have long lasting value and true influence.
The way to build one that falls into the latter category is to be tolerant, less judgmental, and more inquisitive. Try to ask questions in a calm manner to invite and allow conversation. This gets you so much further in the influence department and truly builds the basis for a lifetime of peer to peer communication and enjoyment of one another.
Try to use PERSPECTIVE. Think about what really matters. The answer to this is simple. Is your child making decisions that might kill them today? If yes, then by all means, intervene. If not, don’t.
It’s that simple. Don’t.
If they ask you for your advice then give it. If they don’t . . . don’t.
Instead ask questions that can help lead them to their own conclusions. They will, most likely, eventually get to them without your comments, threats, or arguments. And, when they do, they will feel good about themselves AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, feel good about their relationship with YOU!!
True confession time. My husband and I attended our daughter’s sorority Parent Formal in the fall. On the bus ride home, late in the night, I turned around to look between our seats to see my daughter and her date . . . AND SHE WAS VAPING!
I was truly shocked because she is super careful and makes good decisions – and is going to be a doctor. My first thought was probably unprintable (“what the ____?”). BUT, my second thought was “Hmmm?”.
I waited a minute and then calmly asked, “Are you vaping?” to which she replied, “yeah”. I looked around the bus and realized SO many of these charming, smart, beautifully dressed young women were also participating in this behavior, and simply replied, “Oh, I didn’t know you did that. It looks like it’s a thing”. And she calmly said, “Yep, but it’s just a thing. It won’t be for long”. And I, did the smart thing and just smiled and then turned around.
When she came home for Christmas there was no vape sighting.
Try to start watching how you shape conversations with your teenage and college kids.
When you are able to shift into more peer to peer, CURIOUS, back and forth talk I think you will see and appreciate the difference in your relationship – all the while allowing your child to make their own decisions and not only feel good about themselves but also about how they feel about YOU!