July 2, 2012

BECAUSE I TOLD YOU SO (Child / Teen Dilemmas)

It’s summer, school is out!  A whole new set of dilemmas have arrived.   It is easy as parents to stare blankly at the problems that come from children getting out of school.  Whether it be as simple as trying to figure out what they will eat during the day to dealing with a defiant child having so much free time they refuse to get out of bed and help maintain the home.  Regardless of the dilemma,  one of the things we have to remember is that it is always important to engage our children in the solutions.  The most powerful tool in our toolbox as parents is the ability to give our children a voice and help them learn that they can solve problems and participate in the solution of problems in order to learn how to be self-governing. 

Recently while listening to a parent describe their interaction with their defiant teenager I became concerned at the parents response which was simply “Because I said so”.  Giving the child the impression of “I am right, you are wrong”, “I am the adult, and you are the child”.  While it is important for children to be obedient, it is just as important to teach children the value in being obedient. Too often we see defiance as a personal affront.  In reality it’s simply children or teens testing boundaries.  We as parents have to abandon the belief that when we say “because I said so” and the child in turn complies, it means we were right.
 I propose that we need to become more focused of results as parents.  It is more important to become focused on our children’s understanding of why they are doing what they are doing, their response and their reaction to our requests; rather than trying to control our children into or out of behaviors.  Becoming more result oriented as a parent gives us the opportunity to open conversations and deepen our relationships with our children while increasing their understanding of why they are doing what they are doing.  Creating long term values within the child gives them the ability to first value us as a powerful viable source of information and second the desire to be accountable because they have come to understand the benefits of doing so. 

Dean N Nixon
Seminar Director, Life Coach