Article Summary:How to communicate with your child is laid out plainly and clearly in this four point PLAN.
Are your children truthful, kind, and helpful? If so, read no further. If not, please listen to Colby and his mom.
"All my friends cheat," announced 11-year-old Colby.
"What?" exclaimed his mother? "You don't cheat do you?"
"Sometimes," answered Colby. "But I never get caught."
"It's not all right to cheat, young man," scolded his mother. "How many times have I told you cheating is wrong? What is the matter with you?"
Whether it's lying, stealing, cheating or some other problem behavior, do you find yourself giving lectures on being honest while your child rolls his eyes?
I remember counseling one father who loved his daughter so much that he would give her two-hour lectures. She not only rolled her eyes, but tapped her fingers too. He would yell, "Are you listening to me?"
"Uh-huh," she'd answer.
Parents, there is an easier way. It doesn't have to take two hours either. Consider using the 4-point PLAN:
- No Criticizing.
Let's go back to Colby. Instead of lecturing:
Ask nonjudgmental questions. Get as much information as you can in order to understand how and what your child thinks. Guide your child with questions like:
- How do you feel when a cheater gets better grades than you get?
- How do you think honest kids feel about cheaters?
- How much would your class learn if everyone cheated?
- What advice would you give to cheaters?
Listen with respect. Avoid interrupting with your own advice. If you interrupt, your child may shut down and only tell you what you want to hear. Then you'll be stuck where you started - not knowing what or how your child really thinks.
Look for thoughts from your child that you can truly praise. Smile, agree, and let your child know what you liked about his or her thoughts. Hopefully, your child will have already changed some old thoughts about cheating, like "It's okay to cheat if I don't get caught."
Why not criticize and lecture? Because you need to reflect on what your child said. You need to consider new ways to influence your child's thinking toward a stronger healthier character. You need to create a thoughtful plan of your own for your child's further improvement.
If you follow this 4-point PLAN you will be giving your child the three priceless gifts that all human beings want:
- To be heard
- To be understood
- To be appreciated