“Kids These Days…!” The Best Way To Teach Your Kids Right From Wrong

“Kids these days don’t know right from wrong!”

“Kids these days have no values!”

Do you find yourself saying statements like the ones above? Welcome to Parenthood!

Most parents feel it is their job to impart their values, morals and belief systems to their children. I know I do. Because we feel so strongly about this, we come down hard on our kids when we think they have breached our standards of conduct. It is as if an alarm goes off in our head, which causes us to start admonishing, and lecturing.

Most kids don’t like it when their parents admonish them. But they really find the lecturing, boring and condescending.

So what can we do instead? How can we impart our values to our kids in a respectful manner? How can we actually get them to listen to what we are saying?

In an earlier post we discussed how we can use “I” statements to stop ourselves from nagging. The advantages of “I” statements don’t stop there. We can also use “I” statements to educate our children about our beliefs, values and moral standards in a non-confrontational way, without admonishments and lectures.

So instead of:

“You should never procrastinate! See what happens when you procrastinate? You get a bad grade on your homework! I have told you time and again that you need to do your homework right away!”

Try stating your belief and value:

“I believe that homework assignments should be completed on time.”

Then you need to leave it alone. Give it time to sink in. The less parents talk the more thinking children have to do.

When we lecture and admonish, kids don’t have time to mull over what they have done wrong, they can’t hear their moral conscience. So instead of thinking to themselves:

“I am so embarrassed about this grade. I should have done my homework. Next time I will do it on time.”

Kids think:

“How much longer is she going to go on and on about this? “Why does she care about this stuff so much?” “When will she stop talking so I can go play?”

After my 16 years of being a parent, I see that parenting is done best when you keep quiet. When you don’t say all the things you want to say. The old adage, ‘Less is more’ holds true. It takes a lot of self-control but it is the best way to teach your kids your values, morals and belief systems.

Adina Soclof, MS. CCC-SLP

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