While New Years has passed and resolutions have been made, I thought I would start ABCWednesday's Round 12 with ADVICE.
While I realize my opinion has not been solicited, with an altruistic goal of helping all us parents start 2013 off strong, here are some parenting suggestions nevertheless:
b1. Advice on Advice: ... unsolicited advice (much like what I'm doing with this post) typically falls under two categories requiring different ways of handling:
a. Mandatory advice - directed for their immediate safety/health should be given in a respectful but strong manner. In these situations, while unsolicited, YOU'RE the parent setting limits, and these are limits that cannot be broken - unless first discussed and approved by you. You may want to listen to their responses and concerns, but ultimately you have to set the rules and limits for their safety. Know, however, that as they get older, you will have to pick these issues - or battles - carefully and wisely.
b. The - concerned - needing to get-off-your-chest advice. This is the kind of "don't make the mistakes I made" advice that they see as butting-in.
- Before giving the advice STOP and THINK whether it really should be given. Tweens and teens are learning how to be future independent adults. Sometimes failing or getting hurt now, are valuable lessons that may save them from making similar costlier mistakes later. Learning from mistakes is a powerful form of learning -the kind of 'skinned knee' that hurts now but heals and you learn from' situations. IF this is one of those instances stop, think, and maybe save the advice for something more important.
- IF you feel you must give them advice, don't make it confrontational or present it as something they have to do. Instead, you may want to begin by having a conversation, tell them a story or tell them about something similar in your life when your parent(s) gave you advise that while you did not necessarily want to hear it at the time, later turned out to be one of the best pieces of advice you were given. OR you may want to calmly reflect on their own behavior, what you are seeing and suggest or brainstorm together possible outcomes and longer range consequences to the various optional paths in front of them.
- Help explain (without lecturing) - or plot out - consequences from different options available to them; help them stop-think-evaluate- and then respond. This type of modeling will serve them well in so many situations.
"Children start off at a severe disadvantage when it comes to decision making because their prefrontal cortex doesn't fully develop until well past adolescence The prefrontal cortex is instrumental to...executive functioning...determining good from bad, planning, recognizing consequences, predicting outcomes and the ability to suppress socially inappropriate behavior.
With the emergence of the Web, email, mobile phones with cameras, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, gossip web sites and online sleuths, there are newer, faster, and more creative ways to have dreadful decision making illuminated for anyone with an Internet connection to see. Plus, these decisions have a much-longer "afterlife" because the digital fingerprints they leave are so difficult to erase."Teaching kids to stop, think, and delay reactions (and gratification) may stop them from impulsive mistakes they may later regret. Teaching/training kids towards delayed gratification can also help prevent eating and drug disorders as well and prevent them from making careless and harmful mistakes.
4. While giving advice and encouraging them to step outside their comfort zones (where appropriate) let them know that you will be there for them when they need you.
I figure four unsolicited pieces of advice are just about my limit and soI will close here.
Thank you for your visit, and please leave your own (solicited) parenting pearls (advice or experiences or both) in the comments!
In the meantime. here are a few of my favorite clips that contain advice for parents:
Here's one from Modern Family on how to deal with (intimidate) your kids' boyfriends:
And another - probably one of the hardest things to do - even if you don't agree with your child's decisions or paths, let them know you always have their backs:
Thanks for your visit - please leave your own favorite words of advice in the comments!