From this weeks Love and Logic e-newsletter:
"That boy is going to be the death of me. He never listens. I tell him and I tell him, but do you think he cares what I say? No! Not in the least. I don't know how he is going to learn if he never listens."
We've all heard the parent who talks like this, and I'm sure you've said to yourself, "Now we know the problem, too many words and not enough actions."
How old were you when you learned to shut out your parents' lectures? Lectures didn't work for our parents and they seldom work for us. They don't even bring out the best in our spouses.
The best rule of thumb is:
Keep it short.
Keep it polite.
Make it a question.
"Oh, Darla, I noticed that you were being a bit snippy with your friends when we were in the car. Do you ever worry about losing their friendship because of that?"
It's possible you might get a snippy answer like, "No, besides it's none of your business."
Instead of lecturing, stick with your polite questions. "Oh, sweetie, that might be true, but if not, do you have a plan? Good luck."
Polite questions get kids thinking. Lecturing shuts the door to listening.