Wednesday, December 5, 2012

If You Want To Get Your Teen To Do Something....

Most parents have goals for their kids. I don't mean the "I want you to be a doctor" kind of goals. But the goals that speak to the core values that you as a parent hold dear to your heart. Perhaps they have been passed down through your family, or maybe as you have grown into adulthood and have accumulated a good deal of life experience, you have learned a thing or two about life that you would like to pass on to your kids. Just telling your kids that you want them to be a certain way or believe in something you think important is not the most effective way to teach a life lesson. Showing them and living it yourself is way more effective.

So... If you want your kids to:
  • Love to read: show them by reading. Shut down your computer, your phone, your TV, and do some public reading.
  • Be kind: Show them by being kind. Help out an elderly neighbor on your street, shovel their walk in a snow storm, offer to buy them groceries when you are out,  and  then tell your teen how grateful these people were for your help, and how good that made you feel.
  • Value family: Show them how important family is to you. Have at least one night a week for a family meal, make sure you keep up regularly with your family of origin, and keep your kids in the loop about what everybody is up too. Make sure they make calls to grandparents, and aunts and uncles and cousins for birthdays and graduations.
  • Value friendship: Show them by staying in touch with your friends,  and having friends over for dinner and celebrations. Open your home to them.
  • Value Community Service: Show them by doing some kind of regular community service, and come home and talk about your experience and how meaningful it is to you.
  • Value Education: Show them by learning something new. Take a course, go to a lecture. Show them that learning is not over when schooling is over. It is a lifelong pursuit.
  • Value finding a passion: Find your passion and pursue it, and your teen will see how happy it makes you.
  • Get off their computers and phones: Show them by getting off your computer and phone
  • Be safe with drugs and alcohol and driving:  Show them by drinking responsibly. Always make sure there is a designated driver when you are with your kids where alcohol is present. Never talk or text on your phone when your kids are in the car.
  • Be spiritual and follow your chosen religious path: Show them by being consistent with your own practice.
  • Have confidence and take healthy risks: Show them by challenging yourself to do something you didn't think you could do. Show them your sense of pride at doing something new or hard.
Get the picture. Actions always speak louder than words!

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