A Short Parenting Tip
October 14, 2005

Some Helpful Working Definitions

When children know how to obey then we can give them the privilege of using a wise appeal. When a child doesn’t like a request or instruction, they may use a wise appeal that goes something like this:

I understand you want me to.because.
I have a problem with that because.
So could I please.

The first phrase helps the child identify with the concerns and needs of the parent. When parents feel understood they’re more likely to listen to alternatives, negotiate, or compromise.

The second phrase helps the parent to understand the child’s predicament and reason for discussion.

In the third phrase the child offers a creative solution that addresses both the concerns of mom or dad and the concerns of the child.

You may say to your seven-year-old son, “It’s time to clean up the playroom now. We have to go run errands.” If he’s just gotten involved in his train set, he might say, “I understand you want me to clean up because we have to go out, I have a problem with that because I just set up my train track, could I please leave my train out until we get home?”

Of course, a child in this situation needs to be able to accept “no” as an answer. A child who is unable to accept “no” without having a tantrum isn’t ready to use the wise appeal and loses it as a privilege. Sometimes however, the wise appeal can be helpful in family life. It teaches children an honoring way to appeal.

Some children may try to use the wise appeal in a manipulative way or may not be mature enough to handle it. A child may try to use the wise appeal to get out of doing a job altogether. This is unacceptable. The wise appeal results in a contract between parent and child. This contract requires trust and when a child proves responsible, then the child earns the privilege of more trust.

The wise appeal is illustrated in Scripture in the lives of Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah who all had to go to an authority to present a difficult situation. Their success happened, in part, because of the way they made their requests. By teaching the wise appeal, you teach children an adult skill they can use forever.

This parenting tip is taken from the book, “Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids.”

If you’d like a personalized action plan for your own parenting, consider meeting with Dr. Scott Turansky in a Phone Coaching Session. Learn more at www.biblicalparenting.org.

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