mom son beach parenting

Parenting Tip: Help Your Child Learn from What They Discover

I was talking with a mom struggling with her 12-year-old son who seemed to avoid any and every parental request, requirement, or school responsibility.  The idea that cooperating would be in his best interest seemed to escape him entirely.  

The family had moved to a new neighborhood, so this 12-year-old had no friends to go do things with. So, Mom would invite him to do an outside activity with her every day, and of course, he resisted. Mom would become firm and threaten to take his devices away.  Still she struggled to get her son out with her and he would demur saying that he was too tired and didn’t want to go. 

Recently Mom once again insisted and after the outing to the beach with their dog, he commented that the experience was really fun and he felt more energy and less tired. When Mom shared this with me, I was of course not surprised that a trip to the beach with Mom and their energetic dog was fun and energizing for a 12-year-old. I offered Mom this advice to help her son understand himself better and perhaps mature a bit: Help your son learn from what he discovers. What I went on to encourage was to simply affirm his discovery and ask the question.  Great that you noticed your feelings.  What conclusions can you draw about what you feel and what you do?

Childhood discovery parenting tip Neil D Brown

Generally, giving kids lots of advice about what to do to make themselves feel better will fall on deaf ears because kids discover the relationship between their choices and their feelings on their own. Lecturing on the subject will only invite resistance but gentle encouragement to learn from experience or even telling personal stories in non-threatening ways, can help this important part of learning about yourself along.


Have you read my book, Ending the Parent-Teen Control Battle? You’ll find plenty of useful guidance there with a step-by-step process for dramatically changing dynamics in your family.

Posted in Parenting Tips.