The Trump Ego Odyssey: Advice Versus Encouragement

How can we know if we are saying the right things to kids when they are faced with problems and decisions? Read on to find out more 

saying the right things to children
How can we tell if we are saying the right things to children?

Giving advice and encouragement to our children is part and parcel of parenthood. All parents want the best for their children and hope to be there for them as they sail through the ups and downs of life. However, the line between advice and encouragement is a fine (and often blurry) one.
While offering advice is a recommended opinion that seeks to provide some guidance and direction, giving encouragement is an inspiration that motivates and gives courage to your child. Understanding the difference between advising and encouraging could play a significant part in building a child’s self-esteem and confidence.
Read: 5 lessons you only learn after becoming a parent
When a child is faced with a challenge or dilemma, it is tempting to lean on our own experiences to teach them what we think is the right thing to do. For example, suggesting that our children take up a musical CCA because it is more comfortable than being out in the hot sun for sports training, but is that our decision to make?
We use our own logical scales to measure what is better, what we believe is more beneficial for their future, and we expect our children to use the same measurements. That being said, giving advice is not wrong – on the contrary, it is a vital part of parental responsibility, and we have plenty of life lessons to share as a grown adult. The key is in the delivery. The way in which we give our advice and the degree to which we give it to them.
Sometimes, when a child comes to you about a problem or a dilemma, he or she is not looking for advice but for someone to understand what he or she is going through – a simple ear to listen and let them talk it out themselves. When you offer advice that is unsolicited, you are in danger of making a child feel judged and pressured. This is because it often expresses the parent’s feelings and can come with expectations.
Read: Which parenting type are you according to psychologists
Now, the right level of encouragement can guide a child to set goals and aspirations for themselves. It focuses on their  feelings and efforts and teaches a child to evaluate their own capabilities, rather than make choices based on the standards of their parents. Instead of weighing in with the pros and cons of different CCAs, try a more moderate approach, saying things like, “sports training is going to be tougher but I am sure you will overcome them if you like the sport.”
Giving advice is an important role for parents, and you don’t want to push your child away. As parents, you are very often the first stop for your child looking for answers. Offer it, only if they ask, but don’t interfere excessively with their decisions and situations. Have trust that they can make the right choices for themselves. Take a step back and give your children the freedom to live their lives, even if mistakes are to be made on the way. Believe that they have the strength to learn and get back up again.
Life has a way of finding the right path and this is made easier by a strong and loving family support network. Do you agree with this approach to parenting? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
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