Wednesday Wisdom: Taming the Teenager – That’s an Oxymoron!

May 8, 2008 at 7:39 am | Posted in 1, dads, Families, Family Time, Fun Activities, GEM Parenting Secrets, How To, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, spirituality, teens, Wednesday Wisdom, Welcome | Leave a comment
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 Taming the Teenager-That’s an Oxymoron!

When you think about taming, teenager is not the first thought thatcomes to mind. And for good reason. This is the time of life when people change from being children to being adults. Because we, as humans, have such an extraordinarily long maturation period our change is rather slow and difficult. We also have the added factor that we do not develop primarily physically. Intermingled with the physical and hormonal changes, we have mental and emotional development. There is no telling which of these will be in upheaval at any moment. And so, as a parent you certainly can’t possibly think of taming and teenager in a single thought.

But I am going to challenge that thought, and give you new ways of thinking about your teen and your privileges and responsibilities as a parent. You will understand what is happening and how you can be ahead of the game, allowing you to have the ability to guide and nurture your teen to be a well adjusted, confident kid with awesome high self-esteem.

I am going to share with you the six main dilemmas facing parents of teens these days:

1 Peer Pressure
2 Media Influence and pressure
3 Friends changing
4 Education tracks
5 Drugs/Sex/Alcohol/Shoplifting
6 How to set limitations, guidelines, and still create more freedom

There is not a teen parent who doesn’t share these anxieties. I can verify this both professionally and personally. I have raised one daughter through her teen years and have a teen right now. And being the “expert” doesn’t give me any immunity to these concerns.  But my expertise does help me to have a heads up on what is happening and quick reactions to the ebb and flow of teenagers. Peer pressure has been a basic part of teen years throughout history.

So why worry? The fact is that as your teen tries to be autonomous that means independent and apart from you, he/she will try behaviors and activities that are completely disapproved of at home. One of the new behaviors will be to seek peer approval more than parental approval. This is why peer pressure is so strong at this time. Be gentle, but firm with your teen. Have family morals and obligations, not rules and punishments that you expect and assume to be upheld even in the hardest of circumstances.

Media influence and pressure has gone completely wild in the past ten years. This influence has reached every home in the USA. Media is now in the form of electronic communication, plugged into our children by TV and radio of course, but even more personally by computer, iPod, and cell phones. As a parent you have an obligation to show respect to your teen while at the same time monitoring electronic communication. Keep cell phones charged in the kitchen, have lap tops used in community rooms, keep TV’s out of bedrooms, and get involved with the music your child has on his/her iPod – hook it up to speakers. Get funky and dance, have a good time and be silly.

Keeping these “personal” electronics as public as possible helps to monitor without being overly intrusive. As your teen changes so does his/her friends. When things are topsyturvy for your child and their friends have changed or vanished, be a good listener, and share from your own past some of your own teenage problems. It helps to know that you as a parent were susceptible as well. This can lead your child to be able to come to you when in distress.

Education tracks have shifted recently. In the past they were geared to put kids in college-bound programs or vocational programs. Now they are set up to help you and your child find the hidden talent in your child. These can be great ways to help your child blossom and develop. However remember, you are the parent and will know and understand more about your child- even when they are a teenager, than any test will be able to. Use these as guidelines; not set in stone paths to follow.

I have saved drugs, sex, alcohol, and shoplifting for last. These seem to be the biggest concerns that involved parents have. There are those who believe these experimentations are a normal part of growing up. But they are not biologically programmed. You need to be sure about your desires and opinions. Use soft words for your strong arguments. Let your teens know what you will and will not accept. Be frank and honest. Let them understand the consequences of breeching your trust. Put it in writing. Teens are amazing at understanding what they want to understand and changing what they heard. Tell them you are treating them with adult respect. Adults use written agreements, statements, and contracts in every conceivable context.

As a parent you need to have both respect and concern for your teenager. It is a real tightrope act to balance freedom and limitations. I suggest being completely respectful to your teen. Use positive intervention rather than punishment whenever possible. Let your teen know that at this time of their life it is your responsibility to continue to nurture them. And it is your privilege to help them become a healthy, independent adult with an effervescent zest for life.

 

 

Grace E. Mauzy, M.A.
Founder of GEM Parenting
www.GEMParenting.com
Grace E. Mauzy, MA works with overwhelmed, stressed parents having difficulty comfortably cope with parenting. Parents learn positive intervention utilizing strategies and tactics to develop high self-esteem in children. Grace is the founder of GEM Parenting – an online community dedicated to parenting with passion, purpose, and integrity.  (GEMParenting.com) Through Grace’s professional and personal life experiences, she has a unique ability to understand and empower parents to implement new parenting styles, allowing them to challenge themselves to break free of their destructive behaviors and attitudes. And raise their children with confidence, peace, and harmony. To learn more about her powerful speaking, coaching, and workshops, or to receive Grace’s motivating audio course “The 7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats – And How You Can Avoid Them!” visit http://www.7deadlymistakesparentsmake.com or visit http://www.GEMParenting.com.
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