When I was a little girl my mother told me about her youth. She explained that parents didn't talk with kids about certain subjects. Parents stayed away from subjects like money and sex as a general rule until a child reached older ages. But, parents did talk about behaviors. They saw when a child did wrong and stopped the behavior quickly.
When the Baby Boomer generation became parents some parenting philosophies had been altered for the parent population. Parents talked to their children about sex way earlier because more children were having sex and because contraception was widely embraced as a safety net for negative consequences associated with being promiscuous. Children learned about sex from the television and through music.
Boomer parents, as a whole but not all, talked to their children about money and still thought it was a good idea to teach children to work; that is until it became customary to indulge children in their desires. However, lots of Boomer parents stopped talking to their children about behaviors. Many Boomers turned a 'blind eye' to negative behaviors and focused on becoming their child's friend.
Now days parents talk about money and talk about sex, and want to talk about behaviors because they see definite problems, but aren't sure if they should or how to do it. In fact, many modern parents have a “studied avoidance” when they see a negative behavior because they either don't want to or don't know how to deal with the behavior.
Parents should be able to talk to their children about everything; even their behaviors.
Parents have always wanted to have good relationships with their children, but good parents also see a necessity to correct and teach the children too.
The Secret To A Good Relationship
After years of study with troubled children I have noticed something. They want to know where they stand with me, and they want to know the rules and boundaries. Teaching rules and boundaries requires correcting. When I teach the youth with love and firmness and they take ownership of their behaviors and accept my role as the parent they are happy and we end up feeling safe and loved. This natural relationship increases our personal happiness and creates friendship.
The key to making a great parent/child relationship is being a parent who talks to their child about their positive and negative behaviors. Effectively and lovingly correcting children creates life-long friendships.
Children don't need a hotline to talk to, they need a parent. Parents need to make themselves available and safe.
How To Become a Safe Person To Talk To
A safe parent knows their parent role and doesn't confuse that role with the role of the child's friend. Clearly defined roles create security.
A safe parent is calm in a crisis. This means that no behavior is too big, no behavior is too burdensome. A calm parent works on her own self-government and trusts the learning process which is based on cause and effect.
A safe parent trusts in the goodness of the child.
A safe parent is not afraid to talk about touchy subjects. Today's parents should not be overly graphic, but they should be straight forward and honest with their children. Too many parents lie to get out of conversations or try to scare their children just to get emotional reactions out of them.
A safe parent doesn't manipulate children to get them to behave. If a parent has to bribe children or threaten children they are not safe. A child needs a parent who is secure in his principles and parenting and doesn't feel like he needs to coerce good behaviors.
A safe parent advocates for the child. The parent seeks to understand, considers the correct moral choice, and then lovingly advises the child about what the best choice would be.
A safe parent asks the child for input on the family consequences to encourage behavior ownership. The family meeting is ideal for this.
A safe parent tells their child ahead of time what the rules and expectations are and how they will correct problems when they occur. This pre-teaching decreases anxiety and fear when the child makes a mistake.
A safe parent is consistent in her teaching. If she pre-taught that a certain consequence would happen she makes sure it happens and does the proper teaching. Consistency decreases anxiety and the need for parent consequence creativity.
And a safe parent gives the child one on one time to talk, even if the child doesn't want it. This regularly scheduled one on one time is the time anything can be said and it will only lead to a discussion. Parents who have regular talks with their children add much more security to the relationship than parents who don't do regular talks.
If, as parents, we can start talking again about behaviors in a safe, loving, and assertive way we will be some of the strongest parents the world has known. But, if we keep avoiding that issue and only connect with the children about homework and sex, then we will have to keep guessing in our relationships and keep wishing our children didn't think so much about sex.
Parents should be able to talk to their children about everything: even their behaviors. And, there is a safe way to do that.
This is a new audio class of me talking to a group of youth about their behaviors and how to learn self-government.