Too many adults today talk TO their kids and not WITH their kids. Adults are constantly “telling” kdis what to do and how to think. From the time that babies are able to move around their home, they are barraged with negative reinforcement. “No, No baby. Don’t touch that. Don’t eat that. Don’t pull Fido’s ears.” Sound familiar? Infants and toddlers need constant supervision. Until they can communicate with us grown ups, we have few other options to keep them safe.
The experience of watching kids grow up is one of the true gifts and wonders of life. You laugh together and you cry together. Your bond grows stronger every day. What could possibly go wrong?
This is where the parenting disconnect between kids and adults happens over time and is nearly imperceptible. Kids grow. Their bodies get bigger and stronger allowing them to explore new heights and horizons. Their minds grow as they begin to develop cognitive thoughts processes and think for themselves. They are adapting to their environment and growing as individuals. The problem is that most parents never adapt with them. They continue to employ the same “telling” parenting strategy.
Parenting should have the same disclaimer as investment brokers: Past results are not a guarantee of future results. You need to adapt to the circumstances and people in present day terms – not the past.
When kids stop responding to the "No" Technique, parents think kids are rebelling. Most often it is just a person not responding to the same parenting technique that was used on them as a toddler. Think about it. What is the same about anyone as when they were a toddler? Do they still eat the same food? Do they wear the same clothes? Do they laugh at the same silly songs and shows? Do they think or act the same as they did when they were a toddler? So, why would you employ the same parenting techniques and expect positive results? The answer is that most people don’t know any better.
Kids must feel significant. Like adults, they have thoughts and opinions. They have a world view that is unique to their limited scope of knowledge and experience. Just because their outlook may be based on different criteria than yours, doesn’t make it any less valid. It is their viewpoint and should be respected as such. That is the starting point for Parenting Secret #9 – Talk With Your Kids not To Your Kids. Try having a discussion with your kids rather than lecturing them. Take a page from their playbook and ask them questions. Why did…? How did you…? How do you feel when you…? You’ll be amazed the level of conversation you’ll have with kids even as young as five or six years old. The key is to keep the questions coming and encourage them to keep asking you. This enables you to learn what’s on their minds, how they’re seeing things, and how they’re interpreting what they’re learning.