Friday, June 16, 2006

Raising G-Rated Kids in an R-Rated World (Part 5)

We are continuing our look at 10 principles for effective parenting. Below is one that deals with communicating with our kids and teens:

Take time to listen to your children…“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel” (Proverbs 1:5).

Now let’s be honest. It is difficult to communicate with our children, especially when they become teenagers. Sometimes you’re lucky to get a grunt out of them let alone a word. Often times our biggest failure as parents is that we don’t take the time to listen to our kids. I think we underestimate how important this principle really is.

Charles Swindoll, one of my favorite preachers and authors, tells of the time that he was in way over his head when it came to multiple commitments. He was snapping at his wife and kids; choking down food at mealtime; and generally feeling irritated at all of the interruptions to his day. During that time, his youngest daughter came to him and wanted to tell him something important that had happened to her at school that day. She started by saying, “Daddy, I wanna tell you something and I’ll tell you really, really fast.” Realizing that she was frustrated at the lack of her daddy’s attention, Chuck Swindoll told her that she did not have to speak fast but that she could speak slowly. She replied by saying, “OK, Daddy. Then listen slowly!”

What great advice. We need to slow down and listen to our kids. This takes hard work and the need to prepare for proper and real communication. Below are several practical helps for communicating with your kids:
  • Mutual respect begins with listening
  • Don’t treat their problems lightly
  • Hear them out
  • Remember that listening is often better than giving advice
  • Realize they may test yo
  • Concentrate on what they are saying
  • Enter your child’s world
  • Do things together that they enjoy doing
  • Be able to keep secrets
  • Be willing to admit your own faults
  • Remember, criticism gets you a reaction; praise gets you a response
  • Ask good questions (not “yes” or “no” questions)
  • Ask their opinion
  • Plan ahead for discussions
  • Communicate with them on their turf

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