Trying to control every aspect of a child’s life provokes rebellion and loss of power. When to act or not to act is the question, it helps to divide problems into three areas:
CONFLICT RESOLUTION STEPS
TO ACT OR NOT TO ACT
Approaches to Problems
Directions: To practice deciding how to approach parent-child problems, cover the column on the right and then find out if you (and fellow caretakers) agree with suggested approaches.
The parents think their daughter wears too much makeup to school
The parents do not like the way their son dresses on family outings.
The child does not let his parents know where he is going.
The child thinks parents are overprotective about where he can go.
The child avoids doing his chores.
The child thinks he has too many chores to do.
The child is upset because friends never call her.
The parents are upset because too many boys call their daughter.
The child thinks his bedtime is too early.
The child keeps putting off bedtime.
When an issue is not critical, parents do not have to stand idly by. In addition to feeling back thoughts and labeling feelings, parents can ask value-clarifying questions that help children examine their alternatives, choose carefully, and act on choices. Values can be seen in the judgments people make, in the rules by which they live, and in their attitudes, desires and goals. Children’s values are changing constantly: at various times, it may be important to have lots of friends, make good grades, make the football team, wear the right clothes, be different from everyone else, have a pet, stand up for yourself, or get along with others.
SEVEN VALUE-CLARIFYING PROCESSES
To form values, children need to go through seven stages. Parents can ask questions based on each stage to help young people develop their own personal guidelines:
1. Being aware of alternatives:
2. Choosing freely:
3. Choosing carefully:
4. Prizing and cherishing:
6. Acting on choices:
Persuading, judging, suggesting, interrogating, and repeating your own credo is not value clarifying. Nor is it helpful to ask why questions that put children on the defensive and prod them into making excuses or even lying. However, when children are facing a problem and have no guideline to deal with it or when a value that used to work is no longer paying off, they may welcome the above what and how questions to help them discover their own inner truths.