Sunday, November 23, 2008

Teen Parenting Series: Creating a Better Relationship with Your Teenagers

A series providing parents of teens 9 strategies to help improve communicating with their teens and work towards creating a better parent/child relationship. Today's Topic: Navigating Conflicts and Arguments with your Teenagers. The day my youngest turned 13 was the day my husband and I knew we were outnumbered! 3 Teens: 2Parents. Yikes, how did this happen so fast? We quickly realized with our oldest (now 18) that parenting teens is not the same as parenting before the teen years.
Teens, love 'em or hate 'em we all were once there, and need to remember that unique psyche involved in being a teen.
  • Parents need to constantly remind themselves teens are a different breed of person. Teens feel they can conquer anything, they are invincible. Their friends are their world, and they want to belong and be different all at once.
The teenage world is full of push and pull, love/hate, it is a plethora of contradictions; it can be very stressful on a teen. Teens, like their younger alter ego, do all they can to keep it together in public; when they come home don't be hurt or confused that the stress of their day is unleashed on you. As parents we are the safe harbor for their very choppy day in the world of peers. Topic One: Conflicts and Arguments - Learning not to escalate arguments, thus avoid creating a "mountain" to climb, only to then slowly descend into the calmness of compromise and agreement. REMEMBER: In any conflict, aka argument, with your teen, there are 3 roles; 1. Victim, 2. Hero and 3. Villain. Parents need to avoid the easy typecast of "Villain"
  1. Don't go overboard on accusations, or yelling. Simply state the facts, "John, you are late, we agreed your curfew was midnight."
  2. Don't respond to his excuses with, "you are ALWAYS late." Sweeping statements only open the door for their immediate response and self-validation that you don't "get it."
  3. This simply supports their role as Victim. Simply stay firm and clear, "yes, but midnight was the curfew we agreed to."
  4. If you are NOT the Villain, you will be amazed at how quickly they don't have a quick counter attack. It's amazing. The conflict ends.
  5. Slipping back into "Villain" you only perpetuate the argument, because the "Victim" will always have a comeback to the "Villain."
  6. This promotes the possibility of an even worse scenario: your partner in parenting may feel the need to come to the rescue, as the "Hero," just to end the argument.
  7. Being the "Hero" to a partners "Villain" only underlines your teens ability to divide and conquer the parenting team.
  8. On the flip-side, don't slip into "Victim" yourself by using tried and not true: "if you loved us, you would know we were worried, why do you do this to us, don't you even care?" When they are having fun with their peers, they have the attention span of a lightning bug.
  9. Your teen cares about you, the point is they didn't think about you at that specific moment of their decision. Never state anything you know deep down isn't true, saying it all is being more about you. It is an emotional response that will never bring the hoped for outcome.
Next topic in the series: Teen CUE Words, the Words We All Need in our Parenting Dictionary: Oh so useful, when communicating with your teen. Choose them carefully! The author, Meglyn of "From My Perspective," is the parent of three teenagers, 13, 16 and 18. Meglyn has also worked several years in the school system both in elementary and middle school. At heart, Meglyn often feels many years younger than her 45, but knows the teen years are not a phase in life she would ever want to re-live! She does not claim to be the authority on teens, moreover, she is usually writing from what she has learned from her mistakes, or from the research she has done to help her and her husband during these choppy years of teen hood in the house! Readers: Please post those teen-tips you have accumulated over the years, this parent knows there is always more to learn!

No comments: