Just yesterday I learned of another friend who had to block someone from his Facebook account. They had been “friends” but this person wasn’t cooperating when asked to be more considerate when posting on a particular thread. To protect his family and other Facebook friends from the hate, my friend chose to block this former “friend.”

Everyone today seems to have opinions. Maybe that’s always been the case, but search engines have provided easy information and can cause people to think they’re experts. Then social media platforms make it easy to share. Although we have the right to speak about anything to anyone, it doesn’t mean we always should.

Technology also has the potential to increase tendencies toward self-centeredness, selfishness, and pride.

“How many likes did your post get?”

“Twenty in just a few minutes and some comments that it was brilliant.”

“Oh, cool! That’s because you’re brilliant!”

In the past few hours, one of my posts on Facebook received 25 likes, 1 share, and three comments. Is that enough? What’s “enough”?

It’s easy now for our worth to be wrapped up in being right. And in being popular because we are right. This increases arguments, even at home, over things not worth debating.

Protect your children from this. Raise them better than this. Their security must be in people who are trustworthy. This can include an appropriate amount of security placed in themselves. But, help them see this doesn’t mean they always have to be right or popular because of their insights.

To improve communication and decrease argumentative behavior and bully conversations, will you make time to do the following?

  • Teach kids the differences between opinion and instruction – how to provide them and how to receive them.
  • Teach kids how to back up their opinions with information and illustrations that will speak to others.
  • Teach kids the language of persuasion and how it differs from manipulation.
  • Teach kids how to recognize and determine if someone has expertise and credibility.
  • Help kids distinguish between the unchangeable-I’ll-die-on-this-point beliefs and the ones they can be flexible about.
  • Teach kids to be teachable and open to other people even if they’re not able to be open to their ideas.
  • Whether speaking or listening, help them learn to disagree and end conversations while respecting others and themselves.
  • In this day-and-age, when numerous ideas about this-and-that exist and are proclaimed, it may be more important than ever before to each kids to believe what you want them to. Don’t assume. Teach. Practice the language of persuasion yourself and present your ideas and family’s beliefs in ways that make it easier for your children to understand and, therefore, agree. Help them move from “I agree because my parents said so” to “I agree because I also think it’s right.” That’s good security.
  • Choose to unconditionally love your children and support them even if they do believe something different from you.

What do you think? What did I miss? Which one will you begin with? Please. These principles can probably be taught in teachable-moment conversations that simply occur. Or, as you observe life, bring up these ideas. If you educate your children at home, you could also assign these topics as writing assignments. Let’s do this!

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My past two Monday posts have also been related to communication. You can read them here and here. Thanks for your interest.[callout]Every Monday, I’ll post about discovering genuine hope and authentic answers for living a healthy life.[/callout]