(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:
Don’t Admonish, Invite A Discussion Instead
We often tend to get nervous – and rightly so – about the real trouble our children can get into. But most children are insulted when you suggest they would do something inappropriate – and some children become more secretive and begin hiding things from you. We want to avoid such a situation. It is better if we invite discussion:
Instead of: “Don’t you dare do any of this crazy stuff that kids are doing with cough syrup – you could get killed. Stay away from kids like that. Make sure all your friends are good people ….”
“I read something about this in a newspaper article – you might want to look it up online, kids are using cough syrup to get high. Is it true what they’re saying?”
Giving advice is a delicate matter. Giving advice to kids is even more so. Giving children permission to disagree, asking their opinion, telling them what other kids have done and inviting discussion are all effective ways to help you guide your children while respecting their real need for independence.