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Advice For Parents On How To Get Your Teenagers To Listen To Your Gems Of Wisdom

Updated on July 7, 2013

Getting Your Teen's Attention

If you are a parent of a teenager, I'm sure that, like me, you have tried to get and hold your teen's attention to drop nuggets of wisdom on them, to help them to navigate through the courses of life. To get your teen's attention is difficult enough. Getting the attention of your teen is a feat in and of itself; but can you hold their attention long enough to defeat the big "B" word?

This is the one word that, if you can get past it, you might actually have an opportunity to impart some grains of wisdom to your child. You don't want to try to talk to your teens and they say, "Yeah, yeah, I know, I know." That is the conversation of the bored, and oftentimes, the damned, because they think they know everything already, and they have only gotten a grain of the sand of the knowledge that they need. If they turn a deaf ear to you out of boredom with all your "preaching," you will be hard-pressed to find another way to reach them.

However, prayer changes things, and inspiration that is God given is the best there is. Thus, how can you reach your teen and get them to listen to all the sage advice that you wish to bestow on them?

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Change Starts First In You

In order to initiate a change in someone else, you must first initiate a change in yourself. Scripture talks about first pulling the beam our of your own eye, prior to pointing out the speck in the eye of another. So first, you must change something you are doing, or something in your life.

If you want to change your life, you must first change your thinking. If you want to change your thinking, you must expose your mind to ideas and thoughts outside of just yourself, to gain new knowledge and give your mind new principles and data to process. Therefore, you must read.

If you read 10 pages of a good, educational book; something that teaches you something or helps to improve your life; and do this daily, you will see your life change. I initiated this habit, and was stunned when I completed a book that I had been struggling to find time to complete for over a year. So how does this apply to your teen?


The Chore of Chores

Have you given your teens weekly and daily chores and responsibilities around your home? If not, you need to initiate this practice first, and consistently for several months before applying any of the rest of this procedure.

If you already have the household responsibilities divided up, look to see which of the chores, your teen hates the most. Find the one they whine about, and complain about having to do, or the one that they repeatedly have to redo, because they don't do it well.

In my son's case, it was washing the dishes. He hates it because he has to constantly redo the dishes when he doesn't do them right. Part of the problem is his vision, and the fact that he leaves his glasses at school. Mostly, however, the issue is that he just doesn't like doing it, and doesn't care how he does it; as long as he can be done with it.


Now, take that same new habit of reading 10 pages daily, and apply it to your teen. Tell your teen that if he or she will read 10 pages daily to you, out of whatever book you choose; they will no longer have to do the one chore that they despise doing the most. It is crucial that you choose the book, and that it is a book that will educate, not simply entertain.

Be mindful of the fact that you must remind them of their reading time daily. Also, they must read it to you, which means, you will have to make time to sit down and listen, doing nothing else. You have to give them your undivided attention, this way, they see value in their reading it. They will say that they can simply do the reading themselves. No. They cannot. My son reads, but he reads comic books, Manga books, and one particular writer's adventure series. But when that writer has nothing new out, he focuses on the comics and Manga.

Part of the point of this is to redirect them, particularly those video playing boys, into something more productive. They need to exercise their brains on something outside of virtual violence, and challenge their minds to see the bigger picture. If they don't read their ten pages to you, you can't ensure that they are reading at all, and gaining the knowledge you wish to impart.

The thing is, you must be deliberate and very thoughtful in your choices of the books. Choose books that teach what you yourself would like to be more educated on - things that will enhance your life, will enhance the lives of those around you. Choose books that will teach your teen some of the error saving knowledge that you wish you had known at their age. This would be information that will help them make good choices, and avoid the bad ones. Things that would help them to prosper, and guide them in their goal setting and plan making.

The key is that most people believe in the printed word, particularly if the source is reliable. A book that educates may seem boring to your teen at first, but if the theory the book is based on is logical and makes sense, they will receive it. They will think about what they read, analyze it, and perhaps surprise you as they start to act upon it without any coaching from you.


They will struggle to believe that you don't have some other hidden agenda, some other thing that they have to do, because they won't believe you've agreed to this switch. They will figure that this is a sucker deal, and that if you really don't expect more from them, you are the sucker. But are you really?

Number one, you have established a great way to have individual family time with your teens, because each one has to read to you. My son immediately responded to the fact that I sat there and simply listened. He even began to talk to me about a section in the book that he read, that we both cracked up laughing at; comparing the statement to someone he knew at school, and saying that it confirmed something he already assessed about that person.

As soon as he was finished his reading and starting on his homework, which he is more than capable of doing on his own; he grabbed my hand as I began to get up from the table, insisting that I sit with him while he did his homework. All he wanted was my company. He didn't care if I got myself a book to read, as long as I sat there with him. Did I tell you that he was 16 at the time I tried this?

Secondly, they just can't believe that this is all they have to do to get out of their worst, nightmare chore. They are only too happy to comply. The third thing is the hidden benefit that they don't recognize, which is a double benefit, because you are choosing the book that they read. You can choose whatever book with whatever knowledge you want to impart to them and they will read it willingly to you, to keep from having to do that chore.

Since this is a daily requirement to eliminate their chore duty, they will be gaining new knowledge of your choice, daily, without you having to say a word. They will willingly read it, and you may be surprised, just as much as they are; to discover that they are enjoying it and actually learning something.

My son actually stopped in the midst of his reading to have dialog with me about what he was reading. His commentary was very insightful, and he discovered that some things he read, he already knew, but had never thought about them in the same light as the book caused him to think about it.

So you know what I'm going to do with this, right? I'm going to have my son read health and nutrition books, because I've been trying to get him to understand about eating right. I'm going to have him read money management books, and real estate books, and books by people like Robert Kiyosaki, and other self-help books about how successful people are successful.

I'm going to utilize this to teach him all the things I've been trying to tell him that he barely listened to, or never acted on. I'm going to give him pause, through this system, to think and redirect his path and life. It will move him out of the little boy mentality that simply wants to play video or computer games, and will get him into a more mature mindset; one that desires to accomplish and succeed.

Through this trade-off, I will be able to get him to read books like "Who Moved My Cheese," and "Seven Habits of Effective Teens," that I couldn't get him interested in before. This will be the vehicle to plant all the seeds of wisdom that I want in my son, and totally educate him. I love it!



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    • Etherealenigma profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandra M. Urquhart 

      6 years ago from Florida

      Thank you. I rather thought it was a brainstorm myself. But I can't claim the credit. It's a God inspired idea, but I love it. My son is getting important info that he would never have gotten otherwise of his own accord or will. GB

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      6 years ago from UK

      Great advice, well said. Children appreciate the undivided attention parents can provide and your idea of getting them to read to us is ace. voted up!


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