Narrow-Minded Children Need Open-Minded Parents. Many kids naturally act to gain pleasure and avoid pain (punishment). Open-minded parents can model both calmness and reason. By doing so, they can help their children see both sides of a bigger picture.
In today’s post, we are sharing 3 dinner discussions. They don’t tell your children what to think. That’s not their purpose. The goal is to help your child slow down, think reasonably and see a side other than their own.
Use the dinner discussions to find out what your children really think. Don’t force your ideas. Listen well. Your mission is to open their minds by asking them to give advice to 3 narrow-minded kids.
- “It Wasn’t My Fault”
12 year-old Josh had been told many times to pick up his things. Yesterday, his 5 year-old brother Tommy, while running down the hall to the bathroom, tripped on Josh’s bookbag. He sprained his wrist in the fall. Josh blurted out, “It wasn’t my fault.”
- Did Josh have any responsibility for Tommy’s sprained wrist? Why?
- How could Josh blame Tommy for spraining his own wrist?
- By blaming Tommy, what could Josh avoid?
- What advice would you give Josh?
- If Josh followed your advice how might he have reacted differently?
- “I Forgot”
Whenever 11 year-old Sheila’s mom asked her, “Do you need help with your math homework?” Sheila would answer, “No, it was easy. I did it in school.” Then she’d run out to play.
Sheila received a poor grade in math because she rarely handed-in her homework. When her mother saw the report, she said, “You’re supposed to ask for help when you need it. Why didn’t you?” Sheila said, “I forgot.”
- Do you think Sheila was open to getting help? Why?
- Did anything stop Sheila’s from doing her homework? If so, what?
- If you were Sheila’s mom, would you accept, “I forgot,” for an answer? Why?
- What advice would you give Sheila? Why?
- If Sheila opened her mind and listened to you, what might she do?
- “You’re So Mean.”
13 year-old Jerry begged his dad for an expensive new bike. His father asked, “Are you willing to work for it?”
“Do I have to?”, asked Jerry.
“If you really want a bike, you’ll need to keep your room clean, do your chores without complaining, and cut the grass every week this summer. Are you willing to do that?”
Jerry stared at his dad and yelled, “You’re so mean!”
- Why did Jerry yell that his dad was mean?
- What do you think stopped Jerry from working for a new bike?
- If you were Jerry’s Dad, would you give him a bike without expecting anything in return? Why?
- How open-minded do you think Jerry was about taking responsible?
- Is manipulating others with insults a good strategy? Why?
- If you gave Jerry advice, what would you suggest?
Getting children to think reasonably helps them see the bigger picture. Open-minded thinking can slow down their pleasure seeking and speed up accepting responsibility. They might even think before they act.
Becoming reasonable and open-minded won’t happen overnight. Using dinner discussions can start the process.
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