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Parenting Teens – 3 (Though shalt not instruct)

The other day I heard my colleague say this to a 19 year old son on the other end of the line – “Go to the bank at 11 o’clock – have you kept all the papers I asked you to – go and meet the manager – ………. Ask her …………. Carry ………… Say …………” While he sat and said all of this I was wondering which of these would the boy not have done had the parent not “instructed” him to.
Most adolescents struggle with self image issues and how you communicate does not do much to help. In fact you totally suck the wind out of his sail with your instructions.

  • You think they are kids- they think they were kids
  • You think they need help – they definitely do not agree
  • You think they have to be shown the way – they know they can find their own way
  • You think they are immature – they think you could do with some of their maturity
  • You think they don’t know – they think they know enough and if they don’t they can always google

Now check…. how often are you in an “instruction mode” – Do this – Don’t do this – Wear this – Don’t wear this – Go there – Don’t go there ……………
Here’s something you need to “know” .

Your teen hates instructions.

What are you really communicating to him when you are instructing him? You are telling him – “you are a kid” … “you need help – let me tell you how to do it” …  “you are still immature” … “you don’t know”.
Obviously he won’t listen because he doesn’t agree with you and by God! HE IS RIGHT. Think about it!
If you get this – then let me share what I do and IT WORKS.
Instead of INSTRUCTING start SUGGESTING
Your teen doesn’t mind suggestions – ‘cos when you suggest – you are telling him – you are grown up and you can decide – here’s what has worked for me – you could try if you want to. The choice is yours. When you leave the power to choose to him he would choose what is right for him. But when you instruct him he exercises his choice to choose by rejecting to do what you instructed him to do. It his his way of saying “I know it better”
Now ……”To Instruct or not to Instruct” is a choice you have to make.
Choose wisely!

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