Tuesday

4 Things a Parent Can Say to a Prodigal Son or Daughter Who Won't Listen to Wisdom

Since becoming an adult, your son or daughter doesn't seem to be as interested in consulting with you or spending as much time, usually this is due to a number of reasons including: an active lifestyle, educational goals, job, or family demands. As much as parents would like for that immediate call back, a yes to an invitation, or an unexpected visit, it won't always happen. (I use to be that twenty-something year old who forgot about my parents.)

There are those sons and daughters that are making life choices that are at times disturbing and unfortunately keep poor mom or dad up at night. You may have tried to talk with your son or daughter about his or her choices, but to no avail your wisdom is going in one ear and out the other. Some parents may have used tough love to drive a point home. However, "the talk" only drove them further away. So now what does a parent do?

I was once a twenty-something year old that was raised by parents who encouraged independence toward the end of my senior year. As a result, I didn't make the wisest decisions, because the bulk of my teen years were isolated from many people, places, and things including most peer social events.

I thought, during my terrible twenties when I was making some of my poor choices, that they were good and that somehow everything would end up being okay, but like many young people, you learn the hard way.

An angry, eye-rolling, cursing parent is not what I needed at the time. So there were moments that my parent's advice wouldn't stick just because of their delivery. Therefore, I provide four statements that may not get your child to do everything you want, but it just might help in getting them to come back around. The key to conversing with a young person is making yourself understand them even if you rather not. If you can take that moment, to put yourself in their shoes, it will help your delivery. You also need a consistent positive attitude when talking to them. I think of the young man who said that someone actually took the time to say, Good morning to him. That told me there aren't too many people in his family or at work who bother to just offer a warm greeting.

So if you are polite and respectful on the phone on Monday with your son or daughter, then be that way the next time you see them and the next and the next. When you do things differently than they are use to (like adjust your attitude,) it will make them want to at least think about what you have been telling them and who knows they might be more pleasant toward you. It will also stimulate some thoughts like, "Well what if mom is right? What if dad has a point? Maybe I should do something different." Life is too short and sometimes a son or daughter may even go so far as to think that, "What if my mom and dad aren't around anymore because of what I am into?" Consider the following statements the next time you talk to your son or daughter.

One. "I'm here if you need me."

This is a statement that can be used so much until the point that it falls on deaf ears, so you might want to change it up a bit. But for parents who never use this statement, it will definitely get your son or daughters attention especially if he or she is in a bad relationship or is having financial difficulty that they are too ashamed to come and ask you for help.

Two. "You can always come back home."

Let's say that a son or daughter is really acting like a fool these days, but you can see that they are troubled and really need your help. A simple statement like this might get them to open up. However, be sure you mean it. Make accommodations for them and do share with them what the rules are before they move in. Also, give them a deadline to move out once they have sufficient income and are stable enough to live alone.

Three. "I love you and I'm concerned about where your actions might lead you."

Saying "I love you" is a nice statement and makes most people feel good when it isn't abused. However, some people use this statement and add nothing to it. Your love for your son or daughter needs to be expressed sometimes and just saying three words may not be enough, so add something to it. When you tell your son or daughter that you are concerned about their actions and where they might lead he or she, the thought might cross their mind about things like: jail, death, or some other tragedy. You might even want to throw in an example of your own. Try to avoid naming their friends, being critical of things they are already doing (no matter how dumb, bad, etc.) because if you don't, you will only start an argument, get the silent treatment, or drive them away. They will defend their friends and their actions (no matter how good or bad) thanks to peer brainwashing.

Four. "I've been where you are."

This is another statement that is often used, but some people who use it don't add anything to it. "What have you done in the past that makes you an expert about me?" That's the attitude you are going to get if you don't spend the time to share something meaningful about your life when you were your son or daughter's age; rather than repeatedly critic he or she. You may even give your son or daughter some pointers on how to get out of their messes.

When you tell a young person that you "have been there and done that," it does nothing more than look like you are bragging about your faults even though that is not the message you want to convey. When the conversation comes up, about something your son or daughter has done that you don't like, listen and then ask, "May I share with you what I did when I was your age? I've been where you are."

Other things you must consider when dealing with a hard-headed adult son or daughter is how frequently or infrequently you are talking to him or her. Sometimes a parent can provoke a son or daughter to do something harmful to self or others when he or she just can't seem to stop beating them up with wisdom or is so silent that the parent gives off the vibe he or she could care less.

Take a break from the "just giving my 2 cents worth" conversation every now and then, and try doing things that have nothing to do with your son or daughter's foolish mistakes. Maybe there is a concert coming up, a simple need that they have like a new coat and shoes at the mall, or some other thing that would encourage them to come around you'"use these needs to draw near to your son or daughter. However, don't allow them to abuse your kindness. Take that together time to do something nice and show them just how much you care.

Some parents treat their children like slaves always asking them to perform a task or duty whenever they see or hear from them. Avoid using every opportunity that you see your son or daughter to ask them to do something for you. This is a put-off especially when dealing with prodigal sons and daughters. They have spent years in your household doing what you ask and now they are free. The last thing they want is to be reminded of their childhood chores and discipline. Remember you no longer have children, but adults even if they don't always act like it.

Nicholl McGuire also maintains http://parentsbabieschildren.blogspot.com

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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