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Posts Tagged ‘setting limits’


My Kid Seems to Hate Me – Now What? Monday, May 10th, 2010

Ah, the honeymoon days of childhood, when your child thinks that there’s nothing you can’t do and nothing you don’t know. You’re her biggest hero, and all is well with the world.

Then the teenage years arrive.

Now, your kid thinks that you’re dumber than dirt and grew up in the stone age. You can’t do anything right, you don’t know anything about anything, and the soil outside in the garden has more seeming worth in her eyes than you do. What happened, and what do you do now?

As strange as it may seem, you have seen this before. Remember the “terrible twos”, when every suggestion you made was met with a shouted “NO!”? Psychologically, this is pretty much the same thing; your child is exercising her independence of thought. This isn’t a bad thing, but it can be difficult to deal with.

Try and remember that this is a normal, integral part of growing up. At this point in their lives, teens are beginning the process of separating from their parents and family, and developing their own individuality. They’re not rejecting you, even though it appears that way. They’re striking out on the path of finding their own identities. They’re putting the bricks and mortar into the foundation of their “self”.

Even though it appears as though your children are rejecting you, whatever you do, don’t reject them in return. They need to internalize the fact that you love them, and you love the person they’re becoming, even if the growing pains are hard on you as well as them. Deep inside, your teen knows that he or she still needs you. They might die before admitting it aloud, but they know it just the same. Rejecting or abandoning them now will just teach them that they’re unlovable, and they’ll start building walls instead of foundations.

However – if you child gets truly nasty with you, don’t hesitate to correct that bad behavior. Just because they don’t agree with you – and that’s probably a given – they don’t have the right to treat you with disrespect, curse at you, or become antagonistic. Manners are manners, and they’ll need them later in life, just as they will a healthy self-respect. Remember Thumper’s Mom? “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”? Not a bad tenant to teach your child. They’ll thank you for that one later.

Whatever the teenager dishes out, do your best to weather the storms. Stay calm, and hold to the mantra that “this, too, shall pass”. It really will, and you’ll find that your teen has developed into someone you can be proud of.


Your Kids Don’t Need More Friends – They Need Parents! Saturday, May 8th, 2010

As a person, it’s natural to want those who are closest to you to like you. As a parent, that’s a feeling you need to get over. Your teenagers have plenty of friends. What they need are parents.

Teenagers are at the most difficult point in their lives. They’re not ready to strike out on their own, and yet everything in them is screaming for independence. They need rules, boundaries and limitations more than ever, and they’ll never fight them so hard as they will during the teenage years. It takes nerves of steel to be a teenager’s parent. Let’s take a closer look at why.

Teens are dealing with more social pressures forcing themselves into their barely formed sense of self than at any other time in their lives. They have an almost pathological need to be liked, to be popular, because therein lies the key to their sense of well being and worth; after all, if other people like me, I must be worth liking, correct? While this is natural for them, it isn’t the safest place to gain self-esteem. It’s not deep, and it’s based on the affirmations of people just as insecure as they are! These friendships are very important, yes, but without the guidance and, occasionally, restraint of a parent, they can lead into some very murky waters indeed. Teens need to make their own mistakes, but they shouldn’t have to lead to life-long consequences. It’s up to the parent to give them enough room to fail – and provide a safe place to fall when they do.

Your teens aren’t going to like you for doing this; not right now. They’re going to rail against the “unfair” restrictions and “strict” limitations you put on them. Remember – they’ve got friends. They need you to be strong and firm here, even if they don’t realize it. And – they don’t. They want more freedoms than they’re capable of handling at this impressionable age. It’s up to you to decide what the limit is, and then to hold the line.

Ultimately, when your teenager grows into a self-assured adult, they’ll realize that the limitations you placed on them “way back when” really were for their own good, and gave them a safe place to learn, to grow, and even to push back. You might even be surprised when they thank you for giving them that soft place to land when they fell.

And the best part? You can be friends with your adult children. After all – the hard work is done; at least until the grandchildren show up.


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