How To Guide Your Children While Respecting Their Need For Independence Pt 2

(Adapted From Aish Ha’Torah Series & Edited With Additions By Rabanit K. Sarah Cohen)

There are ways we can share advice with our children while showing them that we respect their need to be independent. We have to show that we know that they can be relied upon, and we trust them to solve their problems on their own. Once they know that they can rely on us to trust them to make their own decisions, they will be more receptive to us. To get this message of respect, trust, and understanding across we can preface our advice with the following:

Give Them The Allowance To Disagree
To allow children to disagree, we can start our conversation with the following phrases:

“I’m not sure if you will agree with this…”

“I’m not sure you will like this idea…”

This reduces the pressure and gives them the respect they crave and allows them to hear you.

So instead of: “You need to wear a Shabbat dress to the Chanukah and not that old sweater.” Try this…

“I’m not sure if you will agree with this, but I was thinking that you might want to wear something a little dressier than that sweater…”

Instead of: “You should do your homework before you go out to play baseball. You are going to be tired when you come home and then, you won’t be able to do it.” Try this…

“I’m not sure if you’ll like this idea, but maybe you could do your homework before you play ball so you’ll be able to relax when you come home.”

Ask Their Opinion
Everyone loves to give their opinion, including children. We can preface our advice with the following phrases:

“What do you think of this idea?”

“How would you feel about?”

So instead of: “If you can’t find your jacket, you’re just going to have to wear your sweatshirt and your fleece together. You better start looking around the house and call your friends and check the lost and found at school”

Try this…

“What do you think of this idea? You could wear a sweatshirt and a fleece jacket until you find your winter coat?”

Instead of: “You need to visit your grandmother. You know she’s in a nursing home and is very lonely. It would be a nice thing for you to do. You need to do more to show her you care.”

Try this…

“How would you feel about going to visit your grandmother at the nursing home today? Could you fit it into your plans? I know she would love to see you.”

Tell Them What Worked For Other Children
Children are also more receptive to hearing advice if they know that other kids have tried what you have suggested.

Instead of: “Well, if you want to lose weight you need to go to the doctor and you definitely should ask him about weight watchers, come to think of it I think weight watchers is exactly what you should do…”

Try this…
“I heard that some other kids have tried this, I don’t know if it would work for you. I know some kids looked up stuff online about eating a healthy diet. Some kids also like to talk to their doctors. Think about it and keep me posted on what you decide to do.”

Stay Tuned For Part 3…