By Johnson Institute Staff
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Extra resources for Communicating: how to confront kids when they're doing wrong : how to encourage kids when they do right
Although we may genuinely believe we're relating to our kids by sharing similar experiences, we are in fact stealing their thunder and losing a great opportunity to boost their self-esteem. When we talk like Egomaniacs and shift the attention from our kids' achievements to our own, we are really telling them that their accomplishments aren't worthwhile. This takes the wind right out of their sails. Our kids want to tell us when they do well because they want us to be proud. But when we stop listening to them and start talking about ourselves, we give them this message: What you've achieved is okay, but you will never measure up to me.
In doing so, we give our kid this message: If you make a mistake or don't do what you're told, you'll be criticized and ridiculed. Our kids quickly learn that it isn't safe to come to us when they fail. This can force them to lie or to seek out unhealthy ways to deal with their fear, hurt, and anger: using alcohol, other drugs, or acting out in violent ways. The Prosecuting Attorney SCENARIO: Jenny tells her mother that she's furious at her friend Sheila, who got the part Jenny wanted in the school play.
Clearly this outrageous outfit is not a fashion statement, but obviously your need to communicate something," analyzes Mom. ," she's quickly silenced with Mom's final assessment, "You don't have to say anything. " Jenny's mom is smug and self-satisfied, certain she has successfully revealed her daughter's innermost feelings and motives. " Jenny was trying to assert herself with someone "safe"her mothera common way that teenagers try to check out their new sense of self. Jenny was looking for personal affirmation but got professional analysiswhich causes her to feel more vulnerable and exposed.