Almost every child has the experience of being lectured in some capacity, whether it’s by a teacher, parent or random adult. And, in nearly every case, the child absolutely hated being lectured. It did absolutely no good.
My brother and I even have a story from childhood we constantly tell about a woman who gave us a big lecture after a friend made a rude comment to another person. Honestly, we didn’t make the comment and didn’t agree with it. Yet, we heard a ten minute lecture about how only Jesus was perfect and we weren’t.
Now we look back and laugh about it and we even laughed about it at the time. However, the story illustrates an important point about parenting: kids hate being lectured. Heck, adults hate being lectured. I’ve been in many work environments when I was lectured (mostly for the offenses of others). It didn’t improve anything about me or my co-workers.
The problem with lectures is twofold. First, you’re being talked at, not involved in a real conversation. Even when someone has done something wrong, they need to be engaged in a conversation. It doesn’t have to be a friendly one, but a conversation is needed to actually engage the other person and get him or her thinking.
Second, people tend to tune out lectures because they go on and on and on. I can be talked to for about a minute and after that I lose interest. It happens in every lecture type environment, especially schools. And, most kids won’t try to pay attention if they’re feeling attacked.
This doesn’t mean you can’t spell things out for your kids or teach them lessons. But, it’s important to do so in a way that is interactive and engaging. As the best teachers know, it’s always important to engage young people and make them responsible for their learning. The same is true of parenting.
So, next time you get the urge to lecture your son or daughter realize that lecturing is ineffective in the long run (and even the short run). You hated it and likely still do when it’s a boss or spouse. Cut it out with the kids.