After the lecture did you ever say to yourself,
“Wow mom/dad is so right, what was I thinking,
I better go and… (clean my room, do my homework….)
I am guessing that most of you reading this did
not have the above thought just after having
So why on earth do we think that it will work with
our kids? Do we really believe that our lectures
will miraculously alter our child’s behavior pattern?
Deep down, I believe that we know it will not.
We lecture because we are frustrated, overwhelmed,
tired or feeling a disconnect with our desire to
have a mutually respectful relationship with our
kids. Essentially, we are venting and hoping that
this venting will dissolve a behavior that we do
not want to experience.
Lecturing does not work because it is not open
communication and it makes people shut down
and tune you out. You CANNOT motivate
someone to WANT to do something, you can
only lead, inspire and model.
By learning how to respond instead of react, you
can learn how to ask questions from a response standpoint.
This is the language of open communication.
Jumping in and trying to offer immediate unsolicited
advice is not open and it can lead to your child
feeling exasperated because he feels that you are not
Research has shown that teenagers want their parents
to listen to them from their perspective. Just listen –
with presence, and remain in that state of true listening.
This means that you refrain from constructing a response
before the speaker has finished speaking.
Think back to when you were a teenager. Really get
present to remembering how that felt. Imagine what it
would have felt like if your parents really listened to
you from your point of view and that they really
understood you. Now imagine how that would
have made you feel – even if they didn’t have an
immediate solution for you.
Here are 2 ideas that might be interesting
to try out:
1) When your teenager is in a receptive mood,
ask her this, “If you could write a column in a
magazine that parents would be reading,
what advice would you give them?”
2) Make a list with your teen and co-create rules.
On the left side of the list are your agreements
(both parent and child agree to …) on the right side
are a list of expectations (from both parent and child)
When you both agree to the list of agreements and
expectations, both of you can sign it.
The agreements and expectations are not one sided,
they are created for and by both parent and child.
When an individual feels ownership of what he is
creating, he will be more likely to stick to his agreements.
As you play with alternatives to lecturing, you will
soon notice that your relationship with your child
starts to reflect the new-found respect that they feel
for you. The connections you are forging will
serve you as you inspire your child to go forward
in life with values and attitudes that support his success.
With love and light
Melinda writes on the blog, Life Positive by Design.