Saturday, December 6, 2008

Topic Four Teen Parenting Series - How to Dodge the Bullet of Teen Nagging

Many of the articles I post here are from things I've read about and learned over the years. Not so with today's post. This is just my pure gut feeling and instinct with respect to the nagging or whining teens tend to do and why they often fall into doing this as a matter of habit. If you leave my blog with anything from this article, please have it be this: CONSISTENCY. Maintaining a consistent value system, rules of the house, and line of communication between your teen and your self is KEY. The parent who is easily swayed, is often nagged. Nagging or whining is simply a means to acquire the desired end result.
  • Once the behavoir is rewarded with what they wanted, you might as well get the dog food out for Pavlov's pooch. The kid has heard your bell, and is salivating at the thought of getting what he or she wanted.
  • If nagging got it the last time they wanted something, they will sure as heck do it again. If your teen knows whining wears you down faster than prepared for the siren sounding whine your teen knows how to make to get you to cave early.

Parents also need to be consistent in their response, be on the same page on what (for the most part - never say NEVER), is acceptable and reasonable requests within their household.

  • If your teen manages to divide Mom and Dad, you will most certainly fall, divided you are always weaker and they zero in on this like shark going for blood.

Set realistic expectations in a firm but loving way. For example, if you were taking just about ANY teenage girl between the ages of 13 and 16 to the mall:

  • Almost guaranteed their expectations of that shopping trip will be much different from yours.
  • If you don't adjust those expectations; you are creating your own misery.
  • Give your teen an enviornment to be successful in. A successful brother, sister or child.
  • By setting the expectation first (as in before you go inside the mall), you are dodging the nagging bullet.
  • When you are very clear and concise about what the purpose of this trip to the mall is, you have given them a clear expectation and you are giving them an environment to be successful in.

This is one of the best things I've ever done with my daugther prior to a trip to her mecca. Now shopping trips are fun; a time to bond, chat and enjoy each other's company. I am the first to admit, this wasn't always so. The majority of the time it was my fault by not being consistent, so she always had a glimmer of hope that maybe this time, if she asked often enough, or spun me around enough she would get that ______ (fill in blank with the latest "MUST HAVE") desire of a 13 year old girl.

Always, always try to keep in mind:

In relationships communication is KEY! Informed people are confident people.

An uniformed person's imagination is usually worse than the reality of the situation.

By not communicating clearly and leaving too much to the imagination you have given your teen no option but to fill in the blanks themselves. In the case of our example, you will have a battle on your hands from the time your feet hit the tile of the mall.

It doesn't have to be this way. Nagging for things, and whining about what we don't get isn't really acceptable behavoir.

Then why do we find ourselves faced with it more than we would like?

It occurs when: there is disparity on what parents allow and don't allow, when there hasn't been a lot of straight talk between parent and child, and when teens aren't clear on what to expect and not expect.

Teens, like ourselves, only want to know what the scoop is whats the 411, etc, Making them guess puts stress on your time together. There is very defined amount of time together as parent and child, they grow up too fast!

From my perspective, parents need to do all we can to enhance our time together with our children!

Teen Talk Tip of today? Talk in a way your children will listen. Listen so your children will talk.


Vince said...
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Vince said...

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Vincent Cheng