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Put Good Parenting Advice to Work

When you receive good advice, whether it comes from books or family and friends, introduce it to your family slowly. If you make sudden changes, you run the risk of your children rejecting it without giving it a chance. Here's an example: You walk in the door one night and announce to your family that you have just read this great article on how too much television reduces a child's IQ and how reading increases it. Consequently, you have decided to throw away the television and get everyone library cards instead. This approach will probably not bring about the desired result of getting your child to read more. Sometimes, you need to take an indirect route.

On the other hand, if the issue with your child concerns safety, the direct approach works very well. Say, for example, your teenager has been caught driving recklessly. You will need to seek out advice on this problem and communicate what you expect of her clearly, directly, and as soon as possible.

The Indirect Route of Using Advice

Nowhere in the parenting rules does it state that you have to tell your child everything. You own the reasons for your decisions, and you do not have to share them. Take, for example, a child who will not go within ten feet of a vegetable but loves lasagna. If you make the decision to put a light layer of spinach into your next lasagna, you do not need to ever share that decision. If your child notices, by all means confess. But chances are that a child who will not eat vegetables has a problem with the thought of them rather than the taste of them.

Alert!

Never lie to your children. If there is something you feel they do not need to know, then tell them that. Lying to your children will cause them to lose trust in you.

This is not to say that you should trick your child. Using advice indirectly just means that you don't have to lay out every decision like a play-by-play game plan. Remember that you are making decisions for your family's benefit. So if something goes awry and doesn't work, don't feel guilty. Just move on and try something else.

The Direct Route of Using Advice

Sharing with your family that you have received some advice that you feel will work in handling a problem your family is facing and then showing them the game plan is the direct use of sharing advice. Allow everyone in the family to have some input on how the advice is implemented, but remain determined to give the suggestion a try. Do not forget to share the benefits of solving the problem by using that particular game plan.

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From The Everything Parent's Guide to Raising a Successful Child Copyright © 2004, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

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