As a parent who wants open and productive communication with their kids, it’s important that you develop some important tools and skills in order to be effective. One such tools is…
If your kids would listen to you all the time, then you’d be happy because your kids wouldn’t repeat your mistakes and would ward off their own mistakes, right? Wouldn’t that be just heavenly? However, if they listen to you all the time, you will also end up with robot-like kids who think only like you do, take no risks, push no boundaries, invent nothing new, and never learn to assert themselves. Obviously, that’s not what you want. What you really want is a kid who knows when to listen and follow conventional wisdom and when to think for him or herself.
If this tool is used occasionally, it doesn’t lose its potency. Like any strategy or tool, it is most effective when not overused. It can be very powerful to help your kids initiate an action. At times, it’s the igniter they need to take action.
Remember, having to earn something is the major difference between rights and privileges. Kids must always work for their privileges. The main message is:
“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, then put some responsibility on their shoulders” – Abigail Van Buren
The beauty of having your children earn their privileges, and the lessons that can be learned.
As the adult in the home, more often than not, creating peace in your home is up to you, so I hope these few ideas will find a useful place in your “toolbox”, and your home will be a place of strong relationships, a place of learning and a place where children thrive.
When your kid faces a natural consequence, he/she is facing the outcome of a decision he has made, whether or not the outcome of that decision is understood, as opposed to punishment, which is an imposed consequence for a decision that was made in spite of any understanding or warning the child may have been given. Which do you use?
The challenges and struggles are in the methods and approaches some families use to teach kids how to discriminate between right and wrong and how to learn accountability. So many parents resort to punishment when they feel nothing they have tried has worked.
Motivation starts with parents helping their kids identify and label privileges correctly. Once kids learn the difference between rights and privileges, they are more motivated to earn such privileges. These kids are less likely to have a sense of entitlement, or to be hurt in the long run by that sense of entitlement.
Let’s say you have a twelve-year-old boy who has enjoyed many privileges up to now – before you understood the principle of earning privileges. How are you going to help him understand that from now on, he needs to earn those privileges?