If you’re a parent who uses sarcasm, rude remarks, or putdowns, you can change. In today's blog you’ll read about a thoughtful teen’s concerns. You'll also hear advice from our parenting skills expert, Annie Fox, M.Ed, who wrote Teaching Kids To Be Good People. I will add my impressions too.
What a Sympathetic 15-Year-Old Boy Writes to Annie
"I'm really a sensitive guy. People have turned away from me since I was 10.” He tells Annie he knows what it feels like to be rejected. Now he sees his parents rejecting his 8-year-old sister with their rude remarks. He can see in his sister’s eyes her loneliness. “She has no friends,” he says. “I feel her pain.” (from page 135)
Annie’s Expert Advice
First, Annie empathizes with the boy. She lets him know he’s a compassionate and kind-hearted person. She suggests he step in and help his sister. “Tell her she is not alone. That you’re her friend and you’ll watch over her.”
Here’s the hard one. Annie tells him to talk to his parents respectfully. “Tell them what you have observed.” (from page 222)
We all need someone in our corner, someone who understands our feelings and who is there for us. Annie encouraged the boy to be that person for his sister.
I also like Annie’s approach because she urged him to tell his parents the behaviors he observed. That’s different from calling them “rude.” Observations are easier to accept. Name calling could cause a big defensive fight from his parents.
How could parents know if they’re rude to their children?
Rude Parents Might Say:
1. “You’re a knucklehead!”
2. “Don’t be so stupid.”
3. “What’s wrong with you?”
4. “I’m ashamed of you.”
5. “When are you ever going to learn?”
Perhaps you’ve said similar things to your kids or even worse like, “I wish you were never born.” Maybe you thought your comments would help your kids make positive changes. Or you could have repeated the words your own parents said to you.
If you are rude or critical and want to change, you can.
First, admit it.
Second, realize your remarks are hurting not helping.
Third, make a plan with or without your spouse for changing these behaviors.
Apologize whenever you’re unkind and then follow your plan. If you do, you’ll be helping your child and yourself become the positive character building people you were meant to be.
Let's THANK Annie for sharing from her book, Teaching Kids To Be Good People: Progressive Parenting for the 21st Century.
Annie Fox, M.Ed.
Pick up her book on Amazon.com and read many more letters from worried teenagers. You'll find Annie's wise advice too.
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With warm wishes,
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