You know, I’ve thinking... about you and about me.
About being a parent. About how hard it is to see our kids struggle everyday. How their pain is our pain.
And how all we want is for them to be happy, and to live self-sufficient, independent lives. As parents we try lots of things, we go lots of places, and we sacrifice everything to give them a chance at success.
I see it everyday… I see it in YOU!
Your devotion, perseverance, determination, and unconditional love. It inspires me.
As a parent coach, I have traveled down the path you are on. My boys are young adults now, but there are still days they struggle, they fall, and need my support. What I find incredibly rewarding is that they feel safe to share their struggles and ask for support-even now. That took years to build.
Building the relationship and strengthening our connection with our kids day in and day out is the single most important thing we can do.
I know we know that, but life gets so busy, we lose sight of it. We forget.
I share my experiences and knowledge with you to lighten your load and give you strategies to shorten your path to building and maintaining a strong connection with your kids. That is my heart and my hope for you.
Here is a summary of what we’ve covered so far:
Back to School Parenting Practices to Avoid
Focusing on the Negative-solution: Highlight the Positive
- Motivating with Shame-solution: Build Guardrails for your Words
- Saying No-solution: Look for ways to Say Yes-to their emotions, creativity and their identity.
Why Lecturing Doesn’t Work-solution: Listen, Ask questions, and Wait
Today my message is simple. I know you know that “lecturing” doesn’t work. That when we lecture, we get our frustrations out but it only makes our kids feel worse about themselves, it doesn't solve a thing, and most of the time they end up “tuning us out” anyway.
So, no long email to convince you of that. Instead, I want to help you build awareness. Because awareness is the key to change. Our family transformation began when I started asking myself questions to figure out why I was doing what I was doing.
Ask yourself: “What am I lecturing to my kids about?” “What brought me to this point of frustration?” "What have I been nagging about that didn’t get done?” Most parents lecture when they’re at their wits end. Which means there’s a lot that’s happened beforehand.
When I really thought about it, I realized that most parents-myself included- lecture about stuff that has to do with the deeper things in life-like family values or “character issues.”
And most lectures have more to do with our own fears about or kids turning out "bad" then about the the unfinished chore we're yelling about. So don't let your thoughts go there-it will only lead to desperation.
Instead, keep practicing the strategies we've covered so far and apply the following tips to stop lecturing to your kids.
First of all, if you catch yourself talking over a minute-you’ve gone too long. Really, for our kids with ADHD or EF challenges 30 seconds can be too long. So use short sentences to talk to them-I call them “sound bytes.”
Next, ask questions instead of directing them to do something. Instead of: "Go do your homework!" Ask, "What's your plan for starting your homework.?"And set the expectation for yourself for how many times you will ask. If your goal is to ask once. Then only ask once.
After that, physically check in with them. Remember, they get easily distracted and there’s a good chance they didn’t hear you. Keep your questions related to what will happen(future) instead of what hasn’t happened(past). This will reduce your frustration and prevent you from “nagging” which in time leads to lecturing.
And finally, focus on listening more than talking. If you’re doing most of the talking in the relationship—maybe because your child isn’t one to talk? Then wait….Yes, you read that right. Wait…
Listen to their body language, their tone of voice, their facial expressions. Our kids have so much going on in their little bodies and minds. When they are calm, when they feel safe and connected they will open up. I see it happen all the time.
And when they do open up-drop everything-to deeply and fully listen to them. When you show true interest in what they have to say-you build trust and connection. And isn't that what we all really, really, want?
So this week, Keep asking, keep listening, keep waiting.