Taming the Lecture Bug in You

By Joey and Carla Link
April 6, 2022

When parents lecture, they think they are helping their children by reminding them of the training and teaching they have given them. Lectures all too often turn into yelling matches because your voice gets angrier as you realize they aren’t listening to you. Do your lectures encourage your kids to make wise decisions? Lecturing is just a polite way of yelling at your kids for not getting something done for the umpteenth time.

What lectures don’t do.
Lectures do not give kids new information. All they hear is “blah, blah, blah.”
Lectures do not motivate kids to do the right thing. They do however motivate kids to do the wrong thing.
Lectures do not encourage kids to succeed. When you keep pointing out the wrong your kids are doing, they lose heart that they are doing anything right.
Lectures do not give kids (especially teens) the freedom to make mistakes they can learn from.

When legalistic parents lecture their kids in an attempt to prevent them from doing wrong by continually reminding them of their strict expectations, they are surprised to find their lectures prevent their kids from doing right.

When you lecture, your kids are unengaged because they know nothing is required of them. Kids keep a small part of their mind tuned in to what their parent is saying and let the other part of their mind wander wherever it wants to go. It is depressing to realize our kids don’t have to think hard about what we are saying to keep track of our words and intent, isn’t it?

Bottom line – telling your kids what they already know is not going to motivate them to get it done to make you happy.

So, what can you do instead? Ask them questions that they can’t lie about.
I asked my daughter to clean her room, When I walked by it a few hours later, the room was still a mess.

Instead of:
Me: Is your room clean?
Her: It is clean enough.

Try this:
Me: Did you have time to clean your room today?
Her: Yes.
Me: I just walked by it. Do you think I thought it was clean?
Her: No. I’m sorry Mom. Will you forgive me? I wanted to finish reading this book. I will go clean it now.
Me: I do forgive you and I understand the temptation to finish a book when you get to the good parts of it. So how are you going to overcome this temptation since you told me the other day you would work on it?
Her: You could take away the privilege of letting me read.
Me: I don’t want to do that. What else could you do?
Her: I could give you the book each morning and you could keep it until I have the freedom to read it when I am done with my schoolwork and chores.
Me: That sounds like a good plan.

Is this more effective than another lecture about getting her nose out of her books and staying on top of the things she needs to get done? Definitely.