I found out that this one area was one I could do well!! Talk and explain so they could understand what they did wrong?? Yep! I nailed it! And I continued this tradition for many years. Through toddlers, pre-school, school age we talked things over. I found pre-teens and teenagers seemed to need a little more attention and the issues got a bit more complicated, so I explained in detail....even more! And to make sure they understood, it would be sit down, look eye to eye and they were expected to graciously receive my wisdom. Now, this technique worked well for smaller children, but quickly loses steam as age increases.
As my boys got older, when these talk times came, you could see misery on their face. It was so important to me to pass along the right thing to do, so I often ignored their pleas and glazed over expressions while I plowed ahead in my speech. Although I am no expert on teenagers, having been through this stage for a few years now, I have learned (finally) that this approach does NOT work! In fact, one of the common complaints and ineffective communication tactics is forced lecturing. As this age progresses, they usually know right from wrong and their choices come from what is inside their heart, not from mama's lectures. It becomes more effective to talk with them instead of talking at them. So....if they are going to listen, words must be quick and to the point. I'm learning to "Say Just Enough".
Saying just enough means no fluff or emotional words, it means addressing the issue directly. Saying just enough can bring conviction, but must also bring hope and encouragement. It means that be using time and energy to find fault and beat them over the head with it (as I did) turns their heart away. They may endure hearing the talk, but it doesn't impact the heart if done in a nagging manner. Saying just enough can address the wrong, but show unconditional love while drawing expectations higher for next time. Simple power packed words - strong words that convey love, discipline and encouragement.
I"m still working on this area and my boys will remind me when I tend to get long winded - we know, you've gone over this before! Nagging doesn't get very far!
A few resources that I found helpful to navigate through these waters are:
Non-verbal Communication - Keep all communication skills sharp!
Five Days To Better Communication With Your Teen - a crash course to communicate better.
How does this fit into Marriage Monday? Raising children is a tough job! Children need the influence of both parents. This brings a balance of mom's nurturing and caring (which comes naturally) and dad's strong leadership and guidance. As mom and dad dedicate time and effort to their marriage, children see first hand how issues, situations and disagreements are handled. We are modeling a marriage for generations to come. Marriage must be the first priority as we raise our children. We were wives first, then mothers. When the time with our children at home is finished, we will still be a wife. Wise women keep investing in the marriage through the challenges of these years. It may be a lot of hard work with busy seasons of life, but the role of wife and mother are high callings of a woman to be embraced with God's grace to equip and sustain us. May we dedicate each day to be the best we can be. Our influence is limitless!