10 Ways to Give Advice Without Saying 'No' and 'Don't'

I don't know anyone who really likes being told what to do. Yet parents need to give advice and guidance, especially to their teens.
03/31/2016 01:09pm ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Woman embracing teenage daughter (14-16), looking at each other

I don't know anyone who really likes being told what to do. Yet parents need to give advice and guidance, especially to their teens. So do friends and colleagues give advice to each other. How can we do it without such a heavy hand that produces more resistance and even opposition than understanding? How can we teach lessons that are actually accepted with appreciation and grace? Is there a way to get across our points without being judgmental and demanding?

10 Ways to Give Advice That Is Accepted (or at least considered!)

1. Begin with the word "I," not "You" (which sounds judgmental).

2. Suggest rather than insist by saying something like, "I was thinking about... and wondered if...."

3. Ask a question rather than making a declarative statement. E.g. "What do you think of trying..."

4. Throw out a trial balloon by saying, "I had this idea that..."

5. Offer choices. In this way, you are making suggestions and giving advice but putting it in the other person's ballpark to choose from rather than being very pointed.

6. Remind the person that you speak because you care about their best interest.

7. Suggest a future time frame by saying something like, "In the future you might want to consider..."

8. Demonstrate your belief in the other person, especially someone with wavering self-esteem: "I know you can try this if it feels right to you..."

9. Offer to help: "I'd like to encourage you to try this, and maybe I can help by..."

10. Thank the person for trusting you to take your advice. Be grateful that you have a relationship where you can share your ideas openly.

These suggestions work very well with kids, but also with adults. Try them in your family and in the workplace. Fine-tune them to fit your style and personality as well as the temperament of the person you are speaking to. The goal is to help a child, teen, friend, or colleague in a warm, giving way that truly benefits them. They'll get that feeling from your approach and be appreciative.

This article was first viewed on 99Check.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst with a recent book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior, found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Familius, in libraries and wherever books are sold.