Are you being clear and consistent in your communication with your children? I had a conversation with an ex-client the other day and she told me that one thing that had helped her so much in the parenting years was something I had said to her ages ago, that is, the difference between Ask and Tell. So I thought I would share this easy distinction with you.
An Ask is a request of your teenager, a question they have the right to answer yes or no to, or re-negotiate.
A Tell is an order or an instruction – you are telling your teen to do something and it needs doing now; there is no negotiation.
Most parents, unclear in their communication, ask when they should be telling and tell when they should be asking. With a teenager there is no doubt that we will be asking more than telling, but sometimes we will still tell, for example, “Come on, we are leaving now!”
So look at your parenting; where are you asking when you should be telling? Remember, if there is no negotiation at all then it is a tell. Where are you telling when you could be asking? Remember, if you could stretch a little and there is room for negotiation, then it is an ask.
Most teenagers negotiate with everything because parents are not clear with them, so they never know if it is an Ask or a Tell. They push their luck and negotiate everything, knowing they will win some and lose some, but it worth a try.
So get clear in your communication and give your teenagers clear messages about what they can and cannot do.
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