Academy Advice

LA Family Support--April

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Developmental Relationships: Share Power

Getting Started: Ideas for Parents

Here are some ways moms, dads, and other parenting adults share power with their kids:

  1. Let them pick shared activities. They can sometimes decide what you’ll do together and what you’ll talk about. Don’t jump in too fast when they don’t make quick decisions or think of things to talk about. Sometimes it helps to let them pick from two to three choices that work for the schedule and budget.
  2. Offer choices, rather than always giving instructions. (“So, what could you do differently to tackle this problem?”)
  3. Learn from your kids—and show it. They often have a lot to teach us as adults. Let them know when you’ve learned something from them that you’re excited about.
  4. Take time to understand each other’s point of view when you disagree. If you can, reach a consensus or compromise. If you come to agree with them, admit it and celebrate their persuasiveness!
  5. When you need to make a decision that your kids disagree with, explain your final choice to them. Thank them for taking time to share their perspective.

Discussion Starters to Grow How You Share Power

Families are stronger when they respect each other, negotiate through conflicts, and give others a voice in decision making.

  • How do different members of your family influence others in your family? (Think of at least one way each person influences each other family member.)
  • What are easy topics for making decisions in your family? What areas are harder?
  • Think of who makes decisions in your family. (This could include schedule, money, activities, cooking, or chores.) How might these parts of your family be different if another family member made those decisions?

Discussion Starters with Other Parenting Adults*

  1. How does the idea that sharing power is an important part of family relationships strike you? What parts of it make the most sense? What doesn’t make sense?
  2. When have you found great satisfaction as a parent by sharing power with your child? What gave you that satisfaction?
  3. What’s hardest for you about sharing power with your child? How have you managed the hard parts?
  4. What are some ways you’ve seen families effectively share power when their kids are different ages, from infancy to adulthood? At what ages can it be most challenging?
  5. What advice would you have for parents of younger kids when it comes to sharing power in the family?

* These parenting adults may include your spouse or partner, extended family members, friends who are parents, or a parent group or class.

Why is Family Dinner Critical?

It isn't always easy to eat dinner together as a family. Research from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse has found that when they asked teens and parents why they didn't eat dinner more often together, the two groups of people blamed each other.

Research studies continue to highlight the power of family dinners. Now a new study from CASA at Columbia University has been released , and it says that teenagers who don't eat dinner frequently with their family are:

  • twice as likely to use alcohol
  • almost twice as likely to use alcohol
  • more likely to use marijuana

The same is true with grades in school:

  • Teenagers who have five to seven family dinners/week are more likely to get As and Bs in school.
  • Teenagers who have fewer than three family dinners per week are twice as likely to report receiving mostly Cs and lower grades in school.

Use this "captive" time to strengthen your family! Ban the technology from the table, and enjoy being present with one another! Here are some conversation starters!

  • What was the nicest compliment you ever received from an adult?
  • What does it mean to have personal power? Are you born with it, or did you grow it, gather it, or discover it?
  • What is your favorite family tradition? Does it involve an activity you like to do?
  • In your opinion, how important is it to dream and set goals?
  • Would you rather live in the country, a tiny rural town, a suburb of a city, or an urban city center? Why?

Contact Us!

We'd love to know what you think of these resources! Did you try them? How did they go? How else can we help?