Something I needed to hear, courtesy of Witmer’s excellent book:
A key ingredient of instruction is helping children understand what is expected. As a simple example, if you ask your child to set the table, demonstrate how to do it. If you ask your child to clean his room, show him what you expect. Nothing is more frustrating than being told to do something and not knowing what is expected, then being held accountable to a standard you don’t understand. One teen put it this way:
“My parents don’t feel that they owe me any kind of explanation. That’s the thing that bothers me the most about them. Their answer is always ‘Do what I say because I’m your mother. Because I’m older.’ That may be true but they should tell me why I can’t do something. They just take the easy way out.”
On a more profound level none of us comes into this world with a clear understanding of what is right and what is wrong. We need to be taught what truth looks like in contrast to the shades of falsehood, dishonesty, and deceitfulness. Teaching is more than laying down the law. It involves showing how, building understanding, and preparing children to apply principles to new situations and challenges.
– Timothy Witmer, The Shepherd Leader at Home, pp. 145-146.