For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. He could equally well have called it the first law of teenagers. So what can you do when you see them going wrong? You can tell them what you think, but don't tell them what to do. And tell them in the way you'd tell a grown-up and an equal. Not, "I'll tell you what I think!
I think you're a fool! And if not this time, maybe next time. They'll certainly be quicker to ask your advice if they know it will be given as an equal. Teenagers are up to things you don't want to know about. Of course, you do know about them really, which is why you're worried. If you were entirely ignorant, you'd be much happier.
Look, take it from me, your daughter has gone further than you'd like with her boyfriend.
Your son uses porn magazines. They've both tried at least a drag of a cigarette by now. And they've almost certainly been offered drugs, but they won't have any evidence of it hanging around in their room, so there's no point looking.
Now you don't need to look under the mattress or read their secret diary. You're not going to find anything that thousands of parents before you haven't found. In fact, you're probably not going to find anything that your own parents didn't find. And what are you going to do about it -- confront them?
Talking with an adolescent can be like walking through a minefield; at any Research proves our instincts: The number one antidote to risky kid behavior is a strong relationship with a parent. A recent Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. survey found that tween girls wish their . New Teen Trend: Eyeball Licking. Have a hard time not taking your teen's behavior personally? Concerned about your teen's depression or anxiety? Weary of power struggles over digital media?.
I think not. You'll severely damage your relationship , and they'll just keep themunder the floorboards instead. Maybe you should think back to the things you did as a teenager that you didn't want your parents to know about.
Maybe you do things nowadays that you'd rather not tell your parents. Your kids are just being perfectly normal teenagers. And if you don't make a big deal out of all those perfectly normal teenagery things they're up to, they're much more likely to come and tell you if anything gets out of hand or is a real problem for them. And that's the important point.
If you act like all that stuff under the mattress is normal, they'll feel they can talk to you without fear of an irrational response. You started off with 18 years and counting. How many have you got left? Because when you get to zero, they'll be on their own. That means they'll have to know how to shop, cook, clean, and straighten up up to a point anyway , do their own washing, pay their bills, stay in the black, and all the rest of it. I know parents -- and without wanting to be sexist here it's almost always mothers -- who are still looking after their kids when they're And the kids, not being crazy, let them do it.
In fact, I have one friend who is 35 and still takes his washing to his mother's. I don't mean he borrows his mother's washing machine, which might be understandable; I mean he hands the washing to his mother and leaves her to get on with it. It takes two to play that game. You're counting down the last few years now to independence. And if your child hits 18 never having used a washing machine or cooked a decent meal, is that really fair for them?
They may not realize what a handicap it will be, but you know perfectly well, as a Rules parent, that pampering a child doesn't prepare them for the real world.
You know your child's strengths and weaknesses as well as anyone. So think through what they still need to learn, and make sure they do.
If they're hopeless with money, teach them to budget. Get them to do the family shopping for a week on your usual budget, or get firm about not paying to fill up their car beyond the agreed amount. I know a man who started to develop psychological problems as a teenager. He used to spend as much time as he could in his bedroom listening to music, which was the one thing that gave him pleasure. As time went on, things became worse. Even after he'd left home, the problems continued.
Many years later, he said a very interesting thing.
While the average teenager may find it hard to pry herself from her phone or emerge from her bedroom to spend time with mom or dad, it turns out she might need you nearby more than you think. While most adolescents still felt their parents were present in their lives even despite the absence, a slightly higher percentage of these teens did have emotional or behavioral problems. It all reinforces the idea that a potted plant parent — one who is present and available but blends into the background — is ideal for teens.
This comes as no surprise to local psychotherapist Theresa Cooke with the Great Lakes Psychology Group , which has multiple locations in southeast Michigan. So how can you be a potted plant parent for your teen? To bolster this focus on family structure , parents with especially busy schedules often find that texting and FaceTime are great ways to stay in touch.
Social media is another way to stay connected, including apps popular with teens such as Instagram and Snapchat. However, the parents should always be consistent and available. They roam around the house ignoring you and when they want attention they are in your face making a lot of noise.
Consider your own potential role in the communication breakdown and see if it helps to make some changes. If not, try a heart-to-heart talk with your teen or even ask other family members to get involved, Cooke recommends.
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