Remember on the old Charlie Brown cartoons, on those rare occasions an adult appeared, not only was their face hidden from view, but the only thing we would hear when they spoke was “waaah wahh waaah wahh.” Charles Schulz was unintentionally illustrating a very important principle when it comes to parenting and that is the fact that children and adolescents have a low threshold when it comes to listening and being attentive to adults… especially when the adult is correcting them or giving them instructions – essentially speaking to, not with, them. This is normal, but can cause a great deal of frustration when the parent does not feel acknowledged.
When you are communicating important information to your daughter, it is important to be concise, specific, and brief. Don’t spend extra time elaborating on the reasons for your decisions or why you are correcting them. Keep in mind that your idea of brief is different from theirs. You have about 45 seconds to 1 minute to communicate your thoughts before you start to lose their attention. Although lectures and lengthy explanations of your reasoning make you feel like you are communicating, the reality is that lectures don’t teach your daughter anything and run the risk of being the opposite of respectful – in fact, it likely feels aversive, or punishing.
Keep it simple and straightforward.
About the Author Corrie Norman, MPA is the CORE Parenting Director at Eva Carlston Academy (UT) a program that works with girls who struggle with anxiety, depression and anxiety. She has been working with families and students in the Teaching Family Model for 14 years. This is just one of Corrie’s simple and easy tips for parents. There will be more on the blog.