Ever start giving advice to your child or someone you love and sense the more you talk the less they listen?
I have, more times than I can count.

Today I found myself doing the above with a family member and right before there was an unhealthy disconnect, my coaching skills kicked in so I stopped. Then finished with, “but I’m not sure this will work for you. I don’t know.”

Pheeeew! safe!

There was a laugh which in most cases is partly to release internal pressure and a sign the attention is fully engaged again.

Internal pressure?

When someone is receiving advice, they are trying to process internally but the input keeps flowing. The incoming information stacks, this builds pressure. To release the pressure They may disagree, shut down, snap at you, tune you out, or wait until you are done. Within all of this, you will be judged. 🙁

Seed planting is a much better approach than bulldozing when wanting to share advice.

When giving advice to people we care about, it’s so easy to be perceived as someone that knows better. As soon as this is set in motion there will be resistance.
No one likes to feel like someone else knows what’s best for their life right? Even if we do know better, we really don’t because we are not them.

With small children instead of going on and on and on with advice, it’s best to seed-plant over time until they get it.

With teens, pre-frame and disconnect. Here’s an example…

Pre-frame: Would you like some ideas for finishing that school project? I’m offering because I love you and want to support you best way I can. Maybe you’d like a cup of tea and take a break?

You can do this, or that but I trust you will find the best way that works for you. “but I trust you will find the best way that works for you” is the disconnect.

Teens need to be in control and making their own decisions in order to grow and feel supported by us.


    2 replies to "The Advice Trap"

    • Viviane Tessier

      Do you have examples of planting seeds, please?

      • Craig

        Hi Viviane,

        I do 🙂

        What do you want to teach?

        For example, if you are trying to mold a positive self-identity, catch your child doing something that is positive and as you walk by say “you are pretty good at that!”. If you stop the child, look into her eyes and say it, it’s not a seed plant. I also call seed planting “A Drive By”. In passing, you drop the seed and keep moving.

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