On these pages, you will read about the effectiveness of the Five Universal Truths. Lovely thoughts and advice, however, adults need to know that because these concepts are universal, there are some considerations that must be understood.

Let’s examine them rule by rule:

Truth 1 – All people want to be treated with dignity and respect
This speaks to the universality of dignity and respect, a worthy consideration.  Parents however, must understand that this rule does not give license for others to treat the parent as a doormat.  Parents should heed this advice – treat the children with respect, but do not tolerate insolence and degradation at any level. Law enforcement officers understand that the admonition of “dignity and respect” extends to all they meet, including those “back seat riders” in handcuffs.  They are quick to point out, however, that the overriding consideration in ANY police interaction revolves around officer safety.

Truth 2 – All people would rather be asked then told what to do
“Asking” is certainly more preferable than “telling” IF circumstances permit. There are times (every parent understands this) that we are unable to “ask” (The Captain of the Titanic did not “ask” people to wear life jackets). Generally speaking, that is not the norm, and we clearly do have that opportunity of asking the dignified request.  The parent teaching the teenager how to drive the family car readily understands that this concept is dependent upon all circumstances

Truth 3 – All people want to be told why
Every action, desire or request should be explained.  Again, there is the unspoken warning that repetition is not a good idea and that it connotes weakness in communicating. Parents should  explain the “why,” providing the child is able to understand fully that “why” and its implications.

Truth 4 – All people would rather be given options rather than threats
Options are nearly always the preferable route to take.  Note the word “nearly”; time and circumstance will dictate how this application is relevant and in some instances (emergency situations) there may be NO time for “options” (house fire/ vehicle accident).  While the parent whose child has wandered away in a crowded mall might comprehend that options may be available, their overriding concern is immediate action  (which many times is not clearly thought out).

Truth 5 – All people want to be given a second chance
Do not confuse “second chance” with endless possibilities that are presented and intended to confuse parents with obtuse commentary. Always keep conversational issues completely within context.

Pat Bucher
Senior Consultant