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Helping them refine their opinions

March 29, 2013

Here’s a life-changing idea. . .                                                                                         

In his book, Between Parent & Teenager, Haim Ginott says,

“We win our teenagers’ attention when we listen with a third ear and respond with a sympathetic tongue. We win their hearts when we express for them clearly what they have said vaguely” (p. 55).

In other words…

When our children express outlandish opinions, parents are tempted to correct and condemn the children. This reaction fails to teach the child anything about the subject at hand or about healthy communication. Imagine your child bellows at the dinner table: “Our principal is an idiot! He should be fired.” If we argue with the child, we demonstrate our own inability to rise above uninformed reaction. Instead, we could say: “Wow. You’re upset. What happened?” When parents listen and show respect for their children’s views and feelings, they set the stage for a productive dialogue.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…                                          

Next time you are tempted to react to an outrageous opinion expressed by one of your children, stop. Take some time to listen to their point of view. Ask them to tell you more. Help the child clarify their own thoughts. Show genuine regard for their opinions. Your responsibility is not to teach specific opinions but to encourage sensible thinking.

To find out more…

about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey or See the World Through My Eyes programs at, follow us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You might also enjoy reading Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott.

  1. March 31, 2013 3:07 pm

    You are a very intelligent individual!

  2. April 11, 2013 5:51 am

    I’m not sure where you are getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for great info I was looking for this info for my mission.

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