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Being a Parent to a Teenager Friday, March 26th, 2010

While there are ups and downs to all the stages of parenting, the teenage years prove to be especially challenging. With all of the physical and emotional changes that occur during this period of tremendous growth, many teens experience feelings of confusion, loneliness, and even depression, which can cause their relationships with their parents or guardians to become strained. If you are the parent of a teenager who is finding it difficult to build a stable, mutually loving and respectful relationship with your child, then you are going to want to read this article at is provides useful parenting tips.
During your child’s teenage years, your teenager isn’t the only one going through a difficult transition. Having your son or daughter grow and mature from a child into a young adult is a complicated transition for you as the parent as well. You may be finding it difficult dealing with the idea that “your baby” is no longer a baby and that he or she is blossoming into a young man or woman. As your child becomes more adult-like and independent, you may be tempted to impede their growth by coddling them more, or on the flip side, imposing strict rules to restrict their autonomy. Of course, neither of these courses of action is recommended. What you want to do is try to find a happy medium where you allow your child certain liberties, but at the same time, let them know that with more independence comes more responsibility, and if they can’t handle these responsibilities, then there will be consequences.
A very important aspect of parenting a teenager is establishing open lines of communication. Rather than lecturing your teen or talking down to them, treat them more like an equal and launch your discussions as open dialogues where both you and your teenager are active listeners and participants. As you are talking, try not to come across like you are lecturing your teen. Even if you do not agree with what your teen has to say, it is important to allow their voice to be heard. Discuss the topics that you disagree about, tell them why you disagree without imposing your views as absolute. This will allow your teenager to learn better decision-making skills.
Setting aside a designated time a few times a week to talk with your teen is a great idea. Even if they would rather spend that time hanging out with their friends, you want your teen to know that you love them unconditionally and that you will always be there for them. With hectic work and social schedules, it can be easy for a child to feel like their parent doesn’t want to make time for them or that they are not a priority in their parent’s life. A parent who makes it known that they are available to their teen to talk and listen, even for just 15 uninterrupted minutes, is going to be on their way to building a stable and loving relationship with their child.
Another helpful parenting tip is to become aware of the behavioral patterns of teenagers today. Given the widespread use of the Internet and the power of the media, it is important for parents to pay attention to the content of what their teens are looking at and reading. Both the Internet and media can have a huge impact on the behavior and lifestyle choices that a teenager makes. As a result, parents should be mindful of what kinds of effects these outside influences are having on their child.

Communicating with your Teen Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Being a parent is probably the most fulfilling role a person will play in their life. However, it is also likely to be the most challenging role as well. Amidst all of its rewards, being a parent is exhausting, stressful, and taxing, especially when your child becomes a teenager. The teenage years represent the transitional period from childhood into young adulthood. Making this transition can be very difficult for teens as they struggle with fitting in with their peers, balancing responsibility and independence, and dealing with physical changes. As a parent to a teenager, it is important to keep in mind that your child is going through a challenging time. Establishing open lines of communication where your teenager feels comfortable talking with you about what is going on in their life is one of the most beneficial things that you can do. Of course, this is much easier said than done. If you are parent of a teenager who would like to learn how to communicate more effectively with your child, then you are going to want to read this article as it offers useful parenting communication tips.

Tip 1: To the best of your ability, try not to seem condescending or talk down to your teenager. They are growing up and becoming more adult-like so you want to honor that and treat them as such. If you treat them more like equals and show them that their opinions and points of view really matter, then they will be less likely to be resentful and avoid communicating with you.

Tip 2: Put yourself in your teenager’s shoes. When talking with your teenager, it is very helpful if you take a trip down memory lane and try to remember what it was like when you yourself were a teenager. Thinking about the negative emotions and feeling of self-doubt that you experienced will allow you to be more compassionate and gain a better understanding of what your teenager is going though.

Tip 3: Empathy, empathy, and more empathy. Coinciding with tip 2, showing empathy towards your teen will allow them to feel like their voice is being heard and that they are understood. Teenagers often feel lonely and like no one understands them, so if you can actively create an environment in which your teen feels unconditionally loved, then they will be much more open to communicating with you.

Tip 4: Opening up and talking about personal matters is never an easy thing to do and it takes courage at any age. Keep this in mind when having a discussion with your teen and reward them when they demonstrate this kind of bravery by listening emphatically and respectfully.

Tip 5: Never ignore your teenager’s feelings and emotions because they could be cries for help. You want to be in tune with your teen’s behavior so that if they are acting uncharacteristically sad or angry you can intervene early to discover what is bothering them. While they may not want to talk to you right away, merely reaching out to them and letting them know that you are there for them when they are ready to talk will do worlds of good, just be delicate in your approach as you don’t want to come across like you are interrogating them.

Your Teenager and Discipline Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Along with all the countless joys of parenting come much stress and heartbreak, especially during your child’s teenage year, which is a period of tremendous growth and change that can present many challenges and obstacles that may be difficult to handle. As a teenager, your child may be experiencing feelings of frustration and confusion over situations like trying to fit in with their peers, experiencing love for the first time, and dealing with their bodies’ physical changes. Moreover, as your child makes the transition from childhood to young adulthood, they are likely to want to have more independence, which as a result, may lead to them engaging in rebellious behavior. As a parent, these acts of rebellion can be very taxing to cope with. So, if you are a parent of a teenager who is looking for some helpful advice on how to manage your child during their teenage years, then you are going to want to read this article.
When it comes to disciplining your child at any age, it is always a challenge to find where the happy medium lies between being too overbearing where you look like a dictator to being too lax where you’d let your child get away with murder. A lot of what will determine the level of effectiveness of your disciplinary tactics will depend on how strong of a relationship you have with your teenager. If you have created an environment for your teenager to live in where they experience unconditional love and acceptance, then your teenager is much more likely to listen to you and show you respect.
A big part of building a solid relationship with your teenager is being open and honest and having discussions with them. You should never just lecture or talk at your teenager; this disciplinary tactic is highly ineffective. Help your teenager understand the decision making process and coach them on how to weigh the consequences of their actions. During these discussions, however, it is very important that you allow your teenager to be a part of the discussion and to let their voice be heard. As a parent, you should strive to be approachable and be ready to really listen to what your teenager has to say.
Becoming more independent is a huge factor of being a teenager. As a result, you should allow your teenager some leeway to explore and experiment with their newfound independence. A tremendous amount of growth and soul searching occurs during the teenage years and consequently parents should not be constantly dictating what their teenager should and should not do. It is very important to allow your teenager to discover their own path in life, even if they make a few mistakes along the way. Of course, do not give your teenager so much freedom that you are ignoring any early warning signs of trouble to come.
Setting curfews for your teenager is another effective parenting maneuver. A curfew will allow your teenager to embrace their independence while at the same time they are learning to be more responsible. The curfew that you set should be reasonable, most likely an earlier time on school nights and a later time on weekend nights. There should most definitely be ramifications if your teenager breaks their curfew, but that doesn’t mean you should over do it. If they are only 5 minutes past curfew, the punishment should not be as severe as if they were 3 hours late.
Parenting a teenager is by no means an easy feat, but with patience, understanding, and open communication you will be able to manage your child’s teenage years much more effectively.

Communicating with your Teenager Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

There are countless delights that coincide with being a parent. Seeing your child succeed at something that was difficult for them or having them say “I love you” to you are just a couple of examples. But for all the joyful instances that parents will experience, they will undoubtedly undergo numerous hardships as well that will be both stressful and upsetting. One of the most difficult periods of child rearing is the teenage years. During this time, there are so many emotional and physical changes that are occurring which can present many obstacles for your child. As a teenager, your child may be feeling like they don’t fit in or that they are misunderstood. These types of feelings often times will lead to acts of rebellion or cause teenagers to be disrespectful of distant from their parents. If you are a parent of a teenager and are looking for some advice on how to make your child’s teenage years as happy and stress-free as possible, then you are going to want to read this article as it offers helpful parenting tips.
Open communication is a key component of establishing an amenable and loving relationship with your teenager. Invoking a more dictatorial parenting style in which you try to control your teenager’s behavior, may prove to be ineffective. This parenting approach may succeed with younger children, but if parents attempt to control the behavior of their teenagers, the teenagers are likely to fight back and engage in acts of rebellion. As teenagers, it is important for parents to remember that their children are just starting to become more independent and to develop their own personal thoughts and opinions about the world that they live in. As a result, it is not advisable for parents to make anything strictly forbidden from their teenagers. Rather, parents should seek to create open lines of communication and talk to their teenagers as if they were adults to try and discern why they are acting the way that they are.
An effective tactic that can help parents communicate better with their teenagers is to schedule specific times to sit down and converse with them. These pre-scheduled meetings can occur anywhere from once a week to everyday. Although, fitting in an hour or so of conversation with your teenager everyday may prove to be a difficult task what with trying to work around not only your own busy schedule but your teenager’s as well, which is likely to be full of club meetings, homework, and sports practice. Therefore, it is probably best to shoot for scheduling conversations between 1 and 3 times per week. During these conversations, it is important that the entire focus be on creating a stronger relationship between yourself and your teenager. This means no distractions i.e. cell phones, television, I-pods, computers etc.
If you decide to try this tactic, remember to listen to your teenager and really try to empathize with them. At times, teenagers can feel very lonely and like they are not respected. You were once a teenager too. Try to remember what it was like for you when you were your child’s age and try to see things from their points of view. This is not to say, however, that when your teenager commits a wrongdoing that you should go easy on them all the time. Instead, when this type of situation arises, talk to your teenager as an adult, explaining to them why their behavior was inappropriate and asking them why they acted the way that they did.
Parenting teenagers is by no means an easy feat, but if you heed the advice in this article and strive to establish open lines of communication, you can make your child’s teenage years much more tolerable for both you and your child.

Conflict is Inevitable Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

image Conflict is InevitableWhat is your immediate response to conflict? Do you wish it didn’t exist or could be eliminated from life completely? Do you always back off and do nothing in a quest for and a belief in ‘anything for a quiet life’?

So if conflict is inevitable what are some of the keys to dealing with it effectively?

  1. Don’t attack the person, rather challenge the behaviour. A young person can cope with you saying they can do better, can turn that C grade into a B grade, that B into an A, but they can’t handle you saying how they’re no good, they’re stupid and they’re a failure. They will begin to believe it for themselves and fall into the classic self-fulfilling prophecies.
  2. Stick to the issue that is current. Don’t drag into the argument all the other times when you have felt let down.
  3. Remember the power of the tongue. The Bible likens it to the power of a rudder to steer a ship – a small thing but with huge impact. Your words could affect their lives [sounds dramatic but its true]
  4. Remember the power of sorry. The silliest statement to come out of Hollywood was, ‘Love means never having to say you’re sorry.’ On the contrary, love means always having to say you’re sorry.
  5. Recognise the ‘inner lawyer’ who always fights your corner. If you have set down family principles, or if there are group rules before the teenage years, these will be working for you during adolescence.
  6. Remember the power of forgiveness. We have all been forgiven at one time or other and know how good it feels to be restored.

Whatever your desires, unfortunately it is not good for you or the teenager to avoid conflict at all costs. You may want the quiet life but you could end up doing more harm than good. The consequences could be more negative and far reaching than dealing with the issue:

  • It may stop the relationship from deepening and developing.
  • It may stop them from facing problems and dealing with them in an effective way.
  • It may allow them to manipulate us through our giving-in.
  • It may damage your self-esteem as parents, or just as people.

Finally, experts used to talk in terms of “conflict resolution” – finding an end to conflict. They have changed their vocabulary to “conflict management” recognising that conflict isn’t about to go away so it is better to learn how to manage it and its effects.

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