How to Give Your Child Opportunities to Teach You


Give your child opportunities to teach you something that he or she knows but that you don’t know. Perhaps nothing gives a child a greater “high” than to know something well enough to teach it to someone he or she loves.

How are you at video games? Let your child teach you a trick or two. Have you read the book your child has just finished reading? Let your child tell you the story. Have you figured out how to operate your new VCR? Your child probably knows. Let him or her show you.

Much of the time you are in the teacher’s seat, your child at the learning desk. Turn the tables occasionally, and watch your child take a giant step on the path to self-confidence!

Child Teach You

Chances are

  • he probably knows how to work all of his toys better than you do.
  • she’s probably up on all the newest fashion fads far more than you are.
  • he’s probably more keenly aware of the newest television characters and programs than you are.
  • she probably knows the latest slang and teen lingo better than you do.
  • he probably knows far more about the other kids in the neighborhood than you know.
  • she probably knows how to do more with her hair and nails and make-up than you ever dreamed pos­sible!

Ask your child to teach you something you want to know. And then make a sincere effort to learn. You may not want to know the latest slang phrases so you can use them, but you may want to know what they mean so you can understand your teen. You may not want to know how to apply false fingernails in order to wear them yourself; you can still find the process fascinating.

To be a good “student,” you need to stay curious about your child’s world. Ask about your child’s favorite music and musicians. Ask to see and hear the lyrics of favorite songs! (That’s sure to be an eye-opening les­son!) You may want to suggest a night in which you share music. You play songs that were “big” when you were your child’s age, let him or her play current favor­ites.

Take time to listen to your child’s observations.

One day John’s son, Tim, said with excitement, “There goes a ’67 Mustang, Dad!” John replied in sur­prise, “How did you know that’s a ’67?” Over the course of the next half-hour, John discovered that Tim could identify virtually every car on the road by make, model, and year. Not only that, but Tim knew which cars were rated most reliable by consumer and car mag­azines. Guess who John consulted the next time he was in the market for a new company car?

Gina had a formal party to attend—a company Christ­mas party at a major hotel ballroom. Guess who Gina took along to help her shop for a dress? Her thirteen-year-old daughter! Said Gina, “She’s the family expert on fashion. She knows exactly what’s in and how to wear it, tie it, curl it, or style it.”

Giving your child a chance to be the expert says to your child, “I value what you know. I appreciate your sharing it with me.” A child who teaches others is not only confident of the information locked away in his or her mind but also carries the self-esteem of one who is looked to and sought out as a valued instructor.

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About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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