Top Four Phrases Said By Parents Which Irritate Their Kids.
Number Four: So how was your day at school?
Seems like a legit question to most of us, right? Well most teens have a different thought about this simple question. By this time in their lives (12 - 18) they are more interested in the social aspect of school whereas we as parents are more interested in the educational value of their day. This being said the better question to ask your budding teen or teen is; "So how are were your friends today?" or "What did you guys talk about at lunch?". These two questions show you are interested in their social development and knowing who their friends are without that over bearing effect and without asking a question you are not really going to get the answer to any way. Then if you must know about the quality of education your child is receiving ask like this; "So how was class today?".
I know this seems kind of backwards to what we have been inherently conditioned to do when it comes to asking about school but this works in several different ways.
First, asking about the social network to begin with will allow you as the parent to assess the social development of your child. How is the child learning to cope with situations which naturally come up in a school setting? Are they becoming bullies, or are they learning how to temper responses to the situation and handle life as it comes? These are important skills to becoming functional adults. The other plus to social questions is you learn about the people your child is associating with. Which is always important! Children think and act one way with each other and then a completely different way while they are around parents, theirs or their friends.
Second perk, when asking the broad question of "How was your day at school?" the teenage child becomes quickly over whelmed with the idea of having to quantify their entire school day experience in just a few sentences. When you have multiple children this can be especially hard because they really do want their siblings to have a chance to talk about their day as well. It is this time in development where children begin to become aware of what others really feel and what it means to be left out. Therefore asking broad questions can and generally will result in argument because it is the only way for them to combat the confusion you just caused so they are going to take that out on you.
So break down your questions into specific questions about all parts of their school day you are interested in. This will make the conversation go better with less fighting and less confusion for both you and your teen.
Number Three: So where are you and your friends going tonight?
Again another innocent parenting question, should be no issues asking this question, right? Nope, this question seems to induce the thought of distrust from the standpoint of the child. So how do we know where they are going to be and who they are going with? Easy fix parents, with one simple turn of phrase. "So what are you plans for this evening?" I know, I know it is pretty much the same question, but think about the way it is posed verses the offending question. See asking about plans is showing interest asking where they are going is keeping track. It is a bit of a mental game but still has the desired results. There is no fighting and yelling with "what are your plans" and you still end up finding out about where they are going to be and who they will be with. This question also opens lines of communication about what your teen's interests are. You can find out so much about your teen if you choose to ask the right questions instead of asking confrontational questions.
Number Two: Why are your grades slipping?
Face it parents we all ask this question hoping to get an answer other than the all to famous "I don't know.". What are we thinking? Parents these kids really don't know most of the time. Really if their grades are slipping it would be a better idea to approach the conversation from the standpoint of; "So I noticed your grades have gone down, is there something I can help with?" Believe it or not they know the answer to that question and chances are pretty good with over crowded class sizes and over whelmed teaching staff they have not been asked that.
Parents this simple twist of the question opens doors to what your teen is not understanding in class, personal problems they may be having but thought no one cared and so much more. Can you imagine the amount of information you could get by asking a simple caring question? It is crazy how changing a few words can give you more than you thought was going on. Face it we all have the first assumption that they are not applying themselves but more than likely it is about an unanswered question, a tragic break up we over looked, or a social environment they are not sure how to handle and well these things take over their brain. Getting these things out to someone who really cares can drastically change the GPA of your teen.
The Number One Irritating Question: Why are you dating that person?
Parents, just don't ask. They have reasons that make no sense and you are just ensuring that person becomes the most important person in their lives. Remember teens live to tick us off and push their limits in life. This question not only irritates the teen but shows disapproval of the person they are dating and unless your child is perfect (and we know they are not) just makes them want to stay in what we might see as a bad situation. Let them date who they want and learn.
Now I am not saying you can not point out behavior which is unacceptable, and I am not saying let them date someone who is abusive but if there is nothing other than you feel towards him/her the way Roseann felt about Mark then let it go.
This concept goes back to what we were taught as children about books and covers and judging from said covers. Stop it. Their reasons for dating anyone generally suck and well we will never understand them. Leave it alone this stage will pass.
Also remember dating in Junior High and High School is about figuring out who they are really are and what kind of person they are interested in. And by the way our reasons for dating someone were not any better when we were that age.
In a Nut Shell
Parents this is really what this comes down to:
- They are emotional messes and legally insane from ages 12 - 18 they have no idea what is going on and asking all these questions just confuse the crap out of these kids.
- Knowing everything all the time is not your job, they have to be able to grow up and make their own decisions, but you can guide them in the right direction by showing interest not a need for control.
- When it comes to dating and friends you will never understand their reasons so don't even fight the battle it is a losing one.
- And finally they are still children and they are still your children, you know them best temper your questions to how they really are. They will thank you for it later, and your relationship will get better with your child.