Oftentimes, when children are failing in some area, they do not see the long-term repercussions. They are unkind to their siblings because they do not see that the years of taunting will turn into a long-term failed relationship.They fail at school because they cannot connect the dots between homework, getting into college, and getting a dream job.
As parents, we often want to lecture them: "You have to do your homework! Be nice to your little brother!"
But if we can take a step back and genuinely, curiously, ask them to explain their plans, we transfer responsibility to them, and we begin the process of empowering them to make choices and live with the outcomes of these choices.
So we might ask: "What's your plan with respect to your relationship with your little brother? I don't think he's going to like you very much if you keep this up, so tell me what you see happening. When you are adults, and we plan a family vacation, what does that look like? Is it fun? Or is your brother mad at you, and maybe he doesn't come on the vacation because he doesn't want to see you?"
"What is your plan for school? How do you see your life working out? If you don't have good grades, you probably won't get into the college of your choice. While there are certainly people who have gone on to have great success without doing well in school or even going to college, their options were limited without college.
"What do you see happening for you?"
Kids want good lives. They want to behave in a way that helps them.
Our job, as adults, is to have conversations with them so they can connect the dot between what they do today and how it impacts them long-term.
The conversation is the relationship.When you have good conversations with your kids, you have good relationships with your kids.
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