Do you have suggestions for promoting the respectful exchange of ideas with 11 and 12 year olds when there are differences of opinion?
– Dealing with Disrespectful Tweens
Your child should be happy this isn’t my dad’s time. My dad is 82, and in his day, children had NO OPINIONS and NO IDEAS! They were to be seen and not heard, do as they were told, and of course, “do as I say and not as I do.” Violation of these rules guaranteed them a trip out to the woodshed! However, since it is 2014 and not 1931, I would make the following recommendations, because, after all …
Disrespectful tweens need guidance.
Often children model what they see. Make sure that there isn’t a little “do as I say and not as I do” at play. Be sure that you and your wife are respectful to one another when discussing differing opinions. Your child could be modeling their communication style after one of you. Next, you may want to create ground rules for communication in your home, similar to Roberts Rules of Order. You can even have a little fun with it and name the rules after your family. For example, you can call it “Brown’s Rules of Order,” or “Jackson’s Rules of Order.” Have your child participate in the creation of these rules, to give them a sense of ownership. Post your communication guidelines in a visible place, like the refrigerator. Guidelines of respect, courtesy, love, patience, and self-control should be the foundation for all types of communication in the home, and not just when there are differences of opinion. Most importantly, the entire family should be accountable for your newly created rules of order, and not just your child.