July 5th, 2008 / 5 Comments
“My kids talk for hours with their friends, but they don’t tell me anything!”
Communication problem? Generation gap?
The problem is actually an occupational hazard of being a parent.
Since day one of our children’s lives, we’ve told our children what to do: put on your shoes, eat your vegetables, pick up your socks, don’t forget your lunch…
We have developed such a habit of telling our kids what to do that we can’t help ourselves.
We tell, lecture, command.
But we don’t listen!
Before they finish telling us their side of the story, we interrupt with the answer.
And who wants to talk to someone who doesn’t listen? And we wonder why our kids don’t talk to us?
Dale Carnegie in How To Win Friends and Influence People gives us “Six Ways to Make People Like You.”
The first principle is: Become genuinely interested in other people.
To apply this principle to winning our kids, we need to be genuinely interested in our kids.
Here are a few ways to be genuinely interested in your kids:
1. Listen without giving advice. I literally bite my tongue to try to cure myself of the occupational disease of not listening.
2. Participate in things that they are interested in. Instead of just dropping your kids off at the movies with their friends, be there to watch it with your spouse…at a safe distance away,of course. Instead of dragging them shopping with you, play video games with them.
3. Get onto SNS. If you don’t know what SNS stands for, you definitely need to do this one. Social Networking Sites – SNS – like MySpace and Facebook are not going away. Your kids know SNS very well. Take time to set up an account, set up a profile, navigate around the site and find your own friends. You’d be surprise how much you’ll like it. Then you will understand your kids better.
4. Read their assigned literature books. I read the same books that my kids are reading for school. I also read the books and magazines they read for fun – comic books, Manga, magazines, etc. By reading their books, you can talk about their interests.
5. Ask lots of questions. Ask your kids for their opinion of current events, the latest gadgets, the current fashions. Ask intelligent questions, not accusatory questions. Instead of “Why didn’t you go talk to your teacher about it?”, say “Do you think somone at the school could’ve helped you?” You’ll be amazed at how much your kids already know without you lecturing them.
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