Think of how they see things

16:00, Feb 15 2013
GUIDELINES: Look to children for advice on how to establish parenting guidelines.

Comedienne Phyllis Diller once said, "Tranquillisers work only if you follow the advice on the bottle - keep away from children."

And when we're mid-crisis and don't know which way to turn or what to do for the best, that advice would seem to make a lot of sense.

Parenting could arguably be regarded as one of the hardest jobs there is.

It's one we all want to do well but we never get the training.

Over the years I've read many articles and books listing the things youngsters need. Looking at something from their point of view can often help us rethink a situation, so here's my top 20.

1. If I've done something wrong tell me off. Being firm with me makes me feel secure but don't go on for hours. I turn deaf after a while.


2. Please notice the good things I do, too.

3. If you want me to do something or not do something, tell me why instead of saying "because I say so".

4. Let me know when you're pleased with me, it's encouraging.

5. Mistakes are mistakes not sins and I learn from them if your criticism is constructive.

6. Sometimes I need to experience the painful consequences of my mistakes. Don't always protect me from them.

7. I learn to apologise for my mistakes because you apologise to me.

8. Please be consistent with your rules and discipline. If you aren't, I get confused about what you want.

9. I like answers to most of my questions. If you always put me off I'll probably stop asking you altogether.

10. My fears aren't silly.

11. Don't always expect the worst of me.

12. And please love me and tell me you do. I love you, even when I say I hate you.

Teenagers might also ask for these additional sorts of considerations:

13. I need you to listen to me. It encourages me to listen to you.

14. I've discovered you're not perfect. Don't pretend you are. Then I can acknowledge that I'm not.

15. Please don't laugh at me or correct me in front of my friends. I prefer to be corrected in private.

16. I'm growing up quickly and need a chance to make some of my own decisions. You let me make some and I'll be more willing to leave others to you.

17. Only ask me questions if you want to hear the answers.

18. So you didn't do that sort of thing when you were my age. What did you do?

19. Don't give up on me. I know I'm a trial at times but I need you more than ever, just in a different way.

20. And please love me and tell me you do. I love you, even when I say I hate you.

© Ian Munro 2012. All rights reserved.

South Canterbury