You know that Proverbs 1:8 verse that says, “My son, hear the instruction of your father; don’t reject the teaching of your mother.”
Solomon wrote that as good advice, but I doubt his kids paid attention.
The desire to listen to parents fades out around age 13 and doesn’t kick back in until around 25… maybe.
After age 25, the ability to listen to advice from parents fluctuates…
…depending on the adult child’s mood, need for money, or how desperate they are to find a babysitter.
There’s one trick I’ve learned from the Love and Logic folks that works great at getting kids to listen to advice regardless of their age.
Here’s how to get your kids to listen to advice
Your child (any age) is complaining about something.
Or maybe he is just sharing his frustration without looking for answers.
Your job? Listen. A lot.
Mirror the problem back to him by restating the problem in your own words.
For a small child: “So Jimmy say’s you aren’t his friend anymore because you don’t like to swim?”
With a teenager: “So the teacher gave you a ‘D-‘ because you got your homework in a day late even though you completed everything correctly?”
For an adult child: “So your wife spends too much money. There’s not enough left at the end of the month to pay the end-of-the-month bills?”
Then listen some more.
Now ask this question
“Would you like to know what others have done when faced with a similar situation?”
If the child says “no,” then your child isn’t looking for advice, only compassion. Don’t take it personal. It’s important he feels heard.
If the answer is “yes,” share three examples your child can relate to, with the last example being your own.
“So your wife spends too much money and there’s not enough left at the end of the month to pay the end-of-the-month bills? Would you like to know what others have done when faced with a similar situation?”
“Some people sit down with their wife and set up a spending allowance for both the husband and wife that works well with their overall budget. Be it $10 or $60 per paycheck, that’s the only free spending money they have outside of their designated monthly expenses.
Others take part of each paycheck and put it in a “bill paying account” and only pay bills out of that account. The other account is for groceries and fun stuff.
I like to divide up the paycheck into envelopes marked for certain bills and expenses. Those envelopes are off-limits for any other spending and since the money isn’t in the bank, it can’t be overdrawn.
Do you think one of these solutions would work for you?”
Now whether your child takes your advice to heart is another story, but at least you got him to listen to you.
The gold in this experience is that your child knows you can listen, and that’s important in creating your legacy.
He also knows you’ve been around awhile and have experience that can speak into his life.
Most of all, you’re growing your relationship with your child whether the problem is solved right away or not.
And that’s what counts.
Yes, I use this technique with my kids. And they actually listen to my advice. They don’t always follow it, but they listen.
Most of them even call me to process their problems.
What have you found helpful in sharing advice with your children? I’d love to know. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Have a peaceful, advice sharing week,