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3 Tricks to Giving Your Child Advice They’ll Actually Listen To

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Have you noticed that as soon as you start giving your child advice, a little switch in her ears gets flipped and she can no longer hear you? It seems like that switch is connected to her eyes and causes them to roll, too. All of a sudden, we become the Charlie Brown teacher and say nothing but, “wah, wah, wah.”

Despite what our kids think, parents have wisdom to share. It’s hard when kids won’t listen or worse, when they listen to advice from a dangerous source instead. So when you know your words need to be heard, here are 3 tricks to giving your child advice they’ll actually listen to.

Be like Socrates.

No need to turn a bedsheet into a toga! Being like Socrates just means asking questions. Often when we give advice, we try to convince our kids we have the right answer. Even if this doesn’t mean their answer is wrong, it can put them on the defensive. Asking questions eliminates our ego. Also, our kids’ consciences have been forming and they probably know the right answer deep down. Asking questions helps them think critically and learn to trust their gut.

Why do you think you did poorly on your chemistry test? Do you think you can do something different to prepare next time?

Share your story.

Use this technique carefully when you’re giving your child advice. You don’t want to make him feel like you are minimizing his problems or taking the attention away from him. You also don’t want to lose his attention by dating yourself or pretending like you were the perfect child. When you give advice by sharing a story from your own life, you have to lead with humility. Admit you struggled and were unsure of how to handle the situation. 

I remember when I got cut from the soccer team. I was pretty upset. It took a lot for me to keep practicing and try out again the next year, but I’m glad I did. 

Use Door Openers

Door opener phrases are great for inviting your child into a conversation. Instead of dishing out advice in a monologue, sit side-by-side and make it a conversation that starts with welcoming phrases. Door openers are great for any conversation, but when it comes to giving your child advice, they can help soften your message.

I’m not sure how you feel about this, but I think it would be better for you to stay home this Saturday night and rest up for your busy week ahead.   

What strategy do you use to get your kids to listen to your advice?


Who is someone you know who gives good advice?

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