I’ve heard some parents express concern that their preteens don’t listen to them.
This is because preteens may adopt an oblivious attitude or appear to “tune out.”
But parents should not underestimate their influence. Preteens want to know their parents’ opinions and values. They only tune out when parents lecture, preach, or scold.
So, a helpful tool for communication with preteens is to express your opinions indirectly.
For example, you might comment on the behavior of a television character to get a point across.
If a character is driving recklessly, you could say, “It seems he’s being awfully irresponsible about his friend’s safety.”
This kind of statement is usually more effective with preteens than a direct statement like “How could he be so reckless?” or “Don’t you ever drive like that!”
Along the same lines, if your preteen wants to see a movie that you consider controversial, you might go see it with her and then ask her opinions about it.
Instead of lecturing about how bad the movie was, ask what she thought about the characters’ actions and decisions.
This will not only give you insight into her thinking, but can help you get your values across.
Finally, modeling the way you want your children to act can be a very useful way of ‘giving advice’ silently. It works.