PARENTING TIP # 114
Teenagers… the word alone strikes fear into the heart of many a parent. Although it is often because we remember our own behavior in the wondrous time of adolescence where we were caught up in trying to prove who we were to the world, especially our parents!
While their behavior may lead us to believe they think they know it all and are unfazed by anything we, as parents say, that is not always the truth of what is going on underneath the rebellious stare that sometimes greets our simplest questions. So what it there to be done?
Listen harder than you talk. Sometimes teens just want to vent, sound out their ideas, so even in heated comments they aren’t always ready to explode. Teens often see life as “high drama,” so just being available in a calm manner can be very important.
Practice active listening while you do chores or shoot basketball, or ride in the car. You never know when they may want to talk. If the concern is really crucial to them, it is often hard to do face-to-face, so give both yourselves some space.
Know that conflict is normal in any relationship and teens often like to argue for the sake of arguing, as well as for learning how to flex their independence muscles. Use these times to do a little subtle teaching about negotiation and problems solving by example.
When problems arise, work hard not to shake your “I told you so” finger. You can agree they made an error in judgment but then ask what they can think of to remedy the situation. Help them come up with a plan of their own and tell them you believe in their ability to accomplish it…and that you’ll be around if they want to ask for help.
Time spent together in the non-crisis moments builds foundations for when the tough times come. You both will already know you love and respect each other’s thoughts and opinions even if you don’t always agree. Humor and honesty are key to keeping the lines of communication open.
Remember they love you and need you even as they get older….even if they say the opposite. Commit to having positive interactions with your teenager. Work to treat them like the adults you want them to become….model the behavior you want to see.
When Your Child “Pushes your Buttons”
PARENTING TIP # 236
Children “push our buttons” all the time, sometimes without even meaning to… so what do we do?
Here are some ideas for recognizing why this behavior may be taking place and ideas for handling it in a positive way!
WHEN YOU FEEL: Annoyed (and tend to want to remind or coax)
YOUR CHILD MAY BE TRYING TO: Get Attention
YOU CAN HANDLE IT BY: Ignoring the behavior if not harmful to self or to others, give attention for positive behavior, realize that reminding, punishment, coaxing are undue attention and often encourages the behavior to return.
WHEN YOU FEEL: Angry (and tend to want to fight or give in)
YOUR CHILD MAY BE TRYING TO: Get Power
YOU CAN HANDLE IT BY: Withdrawing from the conflict. Help child see how to use power constructively by problem solving solutions together that you can both agree on. Realize fighting and giving in usually increases child’s desire for power.
WHEN YOU FEEL: Deeply Hurt (tend to want to retaliate or get even)
YOUR CHILD MAY BE TRYING TO: Get Revenge
YOU CAN HANDLE IT BY: Avoiding punishment or retaliation. Express feelings of hurt in a non-judgmental way—“I feel hurt, when you…” Work to build trust by convincing child he is loved, no matter what the behavior.
WHEN YOU FEEL: Despair and Hopelessness (and tend to say “I give up”)
YOUR CHILD MAY BE TRYING TO: Show how badly she feels about her own inadequacy.
YOU CAN HANDLE IT BY: Stopping all criticism. Encourage any positive attempts, no matter how small. Focus on assets and efforts. Do not get hooked into pity and do not give up on your child or your relationship with her.
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