My wife and I were raised in a culture where parents told children what to do. The belief is that children are immature and they don’t know how to manage life. Basically, parents know best and they need to continually direct children.
The result has not been positive with our 16 year-old son. He doesn’t want our advice about studying. He now tells us to leave him alone. We don’t have a close relationship which we would both like. We are working with Cynthia to try and improve our communication.
I have to tell you that it is very hard for us to change. Our son didn’t study for the AP and SAT test like we thought he should. We kept pushing him to study the way we would have studied and he kept telling us that he knows how much he should study.
We learned that our fear and worry were unfounded when he got perfect scores on both of his tests. Even with the evidence that he did know how much he should study, we still have a hard time believing that we don’t have to always tell him what to do. Commanding is a big communication block.
We’re trying to understand that kids need to struggle and make their own decisions. My wife points out that I keep telling him what to do. She does as well. Learning how to trust the process of growth and how to support him is so foreign to us.
We are continuing to work with Cynthia so we can make deep changes in our belief structure because we want to have our son trust us and even ask us for advice sometimes. Right now when we tell him what to do, he rejects the advice.
Deciding who is responsible for solving a problem is essential to problem solving together. When we give advice when it’s not ours to give creates a shutdown of communication.
We are so appreciative that we have Cynthia as our parenting coach to lead us through these challenges and come out winners at the end.
Read another article on problem ownership.
Dad and mother of 16 year-old son.