Saturday, November 20, 2010

NEVERTHELESS: One of the magic words of parenting

One of the mistakes parents often make not only with their teenage children; but with younger children as well is to get into arguments. While it is important to explain things to children and to have open dialogue, it is equally important to avoid arguments. If your objective it to help your children become responsible efficacious adults with good social skills, high morals and strong work ethics, every time you get into an argument, you loose and ultimately, so do they.

Before you get into the argument, you will want to teach your children and explain boundaries and expectations. If you have already done that on multiple occasions where the child/teen has already had many honest and safe opportunities to truly express themselves and ask questions and where possible you have found the ability to compromise or find appropriate ways and times to say “yes” then it is much easier when potential arguments ensue. When the appropriate groundwork has been laid and you are genuinely open to the possibility to alter SOME rules in some situations where it may be appropriate, and your child/teen has leaned to trust you and the relationship; it is much easier when necessary to simply divert the argument by simply saying: “nevertheless”…

For example: after pleading to stay out until 1:A.M. or 2:A.M., your response can simply be: “nevertheless, your curfew on Friday nights is midnight.” Or after your teen has stayed out until after midnight and returned late and starts to explain that the movie wasn’t over or whatever: “nevertheless your curfew on Friday nights is midnight and now your consequence is”…

There is no reason for you to be angry or for your teen to be surprised if you are consistent. In the long term scheme of things, it is a win/win scenario.

There is another, almost opposite use for the magic word “nevertheless” in parenting.

As your children grown and mature, they need to learn to be responsible for developmentally appropriate decisions and the consequences of those decisions.

After explaining your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings on a matter, turn the question back to the child and say “nevertheless” you are free to choose.

Obviously there are limits to the decisions where your child is free to choose, according to the child’s age and maturity as stated previously (with some dangerous and illegal options remaining off limits); however, children and teens need to learn to make choices and also accept the responsibility of those choices if you hope for them to be able to make good responsible choices as adults.

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