Why is it impossible for kids and teens to listen to their parent’s advice?
Face it! There is not an advice that the teen does not know for himself or herself. “Do not mind your friend’s taunts!” Tell me what is brilliant about that piece of advice? “physical appearances are not important!” Your child probably rolled her eyes and said, “Oh, yea!”
As a parent you are interested in getting your children to behave right. Since you love your child more than anyone else on the planet, you probably want to make her feel better instantly. And you start your advices. But it doesn’t work that way.
Negative feelings become all the more intense when that feeling is not allowed expression. When those feelings are invalidated! When you try to thrust your wisdom on your child as she feels low, it complicates the problem in two ways. First the child’s problem is no more the original problem. The problem now is you! They got to convince you that they really do have a problem. Second the focus is shifted from finding a solution to struggling to validate one’s feelings.
If you think you are one of the parents who is one of the enlightened kinds, and you do not advise your children, simply observe your conversation with your kids consciously. You will find hundreds of conversations every week where you will unconsciously tell your child that its feelings are wrong and that it should be having a better feeling.
When do people behave right? Only when they feel right! The first and foremost skill to be learnt as a parent is to listen to the child’s feelings and ACKNOWLEDGING the feeling. Once you acknowledge the feeling, you will find the child moving on to the solution.
If your child tells you, “I am stupid!” Do not try and advise the child “you are not stupid!” He will continue the complaint that he is stupid. Rather say, “Those are rough feelings to have about yourself”. You will find the child calming down. Then you can restore faith in himself by recounting all the special things he had done so far.
Listening and acknowledging is a skill that will go a long way in rearing emotionally healthy children. The blog is not the place to learn the skill or for me to explain the intricacies of the skill further, I know, but still something is better than nothing.