Wisdom Wednesday: Let Your Joy Out! The Joy of Parenting

June 10, 2008 at 11:09 pm | Posted in attitudes, children, dads, Families, Family Time, GEM Parenting Secrets, How To, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, respect, Self Esteem, toddlers, Tweens, Wednesday Wisdom | 2 Comments
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Joy in life can be so fulfilling.  And joy in parenting can change the whole thing from a chore, an overwhelming confusion, an energy depleting life style to one with confidence, ease of making decisions, and feeling energized day in and day out.

Each morning I have a special routine to wake up my children.  I simply love how I wake them up.  And it is filled with joy.

The first child I wake up, who is the youngest, I give her kisses and kisses and kisses.  All over her adorable cutie pie face.  It never fails. We just love each other.  And there is nothing that stops the joy of being her mother when I do this. 

The next child is the teenager- a slightly Oh so much more difficult task.  I ease us into this.  I give her a gentle message.  I start with her head, do her neck and shoulders, her back and finish with her legs and feet.  And this is not a deep thorough message- it is truly an awakening.  And we both are full of joy from this simple routine. 

I save the hardest for last.  She is my sleeping angel.  And it is very hard for her to go from being asleep to being awake.  She has a special stuffy ( stuffed animal if  you did not know)  that helps to wake her up.  Lambie talks with her, hugs her, and asks her take to the bathroom and get her dressed.  (Just in case you don’t know this, I talk for Lambie.)  My sleeping angel gets to wake up to be in her imaginary world before she hits the real world.  Waking up is peaceful and you guessed it, full of joy.

My eldest daughter is now an adult on her own, but we had a routine that I still do when she comes to visit- and she does with her self most mornings.  I say good morning to each part of her- The same pattern as the message, but this is just a touch with me saying good morning head, good morning ears, good morning eyes, etc.

So each morning starts with joy.  No yelling, panicking.  And then we can get on with what the day has to offer.

Now guess how long all this takes?  With three kids I can be finished in ten minutes, or of course I can take a full half hour.  The choice is simple for me.  I can do that tension filled, pushy, anxiety filled that we are not going to be ready on time wake up- probably taking ten to fifteen minutes from the time I say get up to when the last is actually up- or I can do my routine.  Which would you pick?

Now if you want to start a better joy filled morning routine tell your kids you are going to do it.  And let them know that you are absolutely going to do this.  Be calm, firm, and realistic.  It will take both you and your kids some time to get from that state you are in now to what I do.  I have faith in you.  Try it a lot.  Let your joy out.  Be proud of it.  Let your joy engulf you.

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Tickle Me Tuesday: The Joy of Parenting…Wisdom from Grace

June 10, 2008 at 8:45 am | Posted in attitudes, children, Families, Family Time, GEM Parenting Secrets, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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The Joy of Parenting

When you hear these words, is the first thought that comes to your mind the Joy of Cooking?  Well, if it wasn’t now, it is.  There are some significant similarities and some vast differences between cooking and parenting.

The two major differences between parenting and cooking are:

  • If you burn the meal you can always make another one.
  • If you screw up the kids, you have to figure out how to unscrew up the kids.  You can’t just get a new set.
  • Although a cookbook can have thousands of recipes in it, if you truly follow the instructions exactly, there is little room for failure of the one dish you are making.
  • Not so with kids.  If you do get a recipe, it can be completely useless for your kid.  And can even backfire.  With kids you need to take in the information that is given you and adjust for your entire family.

And these differences make you, the parent, anxious, fearful, confused and overwhelmed.  When you get stuck in these emotions with your parenting, things begin to go wrong. 

The joy of parenting seems to be non-existent for you.  And in fact it is.  Oh, you may have a few glimmers and fleeting moments of that joy.  And you can really see it in other parents and kids.  But where is it for you?  Why can’t you just get the book and figure out the recipe?  Obviously people have been raising kids forever.  So why is it so hard for you to find and actually live fulltime with the joy of parenting?

Your answer is where you are looking for it.  How do you think it will come to you?  I am not going to say simply look in your heart and you will find the answers.  You already have done that.  Or just let it come to you.  You have probably tried that as well.  And besides, if that were all it took, then there would be none of the issues that you have!

No my dear, it takes much more than that simple inward glance or waiting till it gets to you to have joy in your parenting. 

If you are missing the joy of parenting, you need to purposefully bring joy to your parenting.  But how do you bring joy to your parenting and where is this illusive joy hiding in the first place?

Now is the part where the joy of cooking and the joy of parenting come together. 

By following the recipe in the cookbook, you can have one pretty good dish.  By following this recipe of parenting you can have one aspect of the joy of parenting. 

When you make one great dish, you are inspired to make another one.  As you continue to make recipes you become more excited and interested in cooking.  And when one flops, no big deal.  Just make another one. 

With parenting it really is the same.  When you find one way to have joy in your parenting, you become excited.  You are confident.  You create more and more ways to have joy in your parenting.  And if one way flops to bring joy, it is not the whole parenting that has flopped.  It is not your kids that have flopped.  And in many cases the flop is so funny that there is still some joy in the humor of it.

Here is what you want to know – How to get that first bit of joy into your parenting; opening the door so that you can have the excitement and confidence to gain more and more joy in your parenting.  

Start with using respect for your children and respect for your parenting.  With mutual respect you are no longer looking for something on the outside or hoping it will just appear.  This is purposeful.  When you use a recipe you do things in a purposeful way.

Here are four things to do to be respectful of your children.

1.  Ask them a question that is specific. 

  • “Did you jump rope with Sally today?”
  • “Where you able to answer most of the questions on your math test?” 
  • “How did you skin your knee?”

2.  When your child answers, you look them in the eye.  Be listening only to them.  Multitasking masks the joy of parenting.

3.  When your child comes to you and wants your attention, either give it to them fully or let them know when you will be available.  Then you must set your timer and be available when you say you will be.  It is no different than you wanting them to go to bed, come to dinner, or get ready for school. 

4.  Stop always multitasking when you are with your kids.  Make real commitments to do one simple thing with your children each day.  It can be as simple as talk to them for a conversation without TV, computer, cooking, homework, or anything else going on.

I know this may be hard- you are so trained in multitasking and your children are so accustomed to you being involved in at least two things at any given moment that you both find this awkward.  That’s OK.  The first time you use a recipe book it is awkward.  Just have a simple and complete conversation. 

When you follow this simple recipe for respect to your children, you will automatically gain respect in one aspect of your parenting. 

You will see that using respect brings joy to parenting.  It takes away the tension, fear and anxieties.  You are confident.  Your family has high self-esteem.  In a nutshell, respect will bring joy to your parenting.

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.

Motivational Monday: The Joy of Parenting

June 10, 2008 at 8:32 am | Posted in attitudes, Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Focused Fridays, Fun Activities, GEM Parenting Secrets, Mothers, Motivational Monday, parents, peer pressure, relationships, Self Esteem, Thoughtful Thursday, Wednesday Wisdom, Welcome | Leave a comment
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The first thing I want to give you is a great big Welcome to GEM Parenting.  Have you come to GEM Parenting with anxiety about your children, worries about how to discipline them, and with a heart ache because you really thought being a parent would have some joy in it? 

One of the most over looked and least understood areas of parenting is the joy.  When you find joy in parenting your anxieties and worries seem to drift away.  You are aware of how and what to do. 

Parents that I have led to their own joy of parenting have been able to introduce positive intervention, live with high self-esteem, and be free of social and media pressures to conform to.

This week is your opportunity to bring joy to your parenting.  For today I want you to pay particular attention to one single aspect of your child that you cherish.  Disregard everything else.  Do it for one whole day.  At the end of the day come back and share what happened.

EnJoy your parenting.

Here’s what’s happening this week.

Terrific Tuesday:

I will be sharing a personal experience of finding joy in my parenting.  You know I think it is great to be all learned and experienced, but if I can’t share what and how I do things you just can’t really get what I’m talking about.  So I hope you will come back and see some joy.

Wisdom Wednesday:

Wednesday, I will put on the hat of the expert. I will explain the joy of parenting from the standpoint of the problem and the solution.

Thoughtful Thursday:

 On Thursday, I am going to share with you a case study of a client I have worked with.  Not in a scientific research way, but I hope in a way that is enlightening and enjoyable to read.

Follow up Friday:

On Fridays, I have a free radio show and it is completely your questions and my answers.  There is no sermon, no didactic -That means teacher talks student listen – teaching.  Only your questions that I answer on the spot.

There are a couple of things that do happen as well, I do have surprises for the listeners.  And especially for the first call in of the day. 

If you want to be sure that your question is answered then mail it to me, Grace@GEMParenitng.com.  The first question I receive each week will get a ticket to join a live teleclass.

Also, if you are unable to attend the live show, there is a recording.  So you can still send in your question.

Saturday is Creative Crayon Club:

And of course you will be getting ideas of how to bring joy to your house and your parenting. 

It’s a busy week for you, I know.  You are a parent with worries, concerns and fears.  So, come back each day to gain a bit more peace and guidance to being one amazing parent filled with joy of parenting.

 

Follow-up Friday: Natural Self-Esteem Questions and Answers Series Today!

June 6, 2008 at 9:06 am | Posted in attitudes, children, Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Family Time, Focused Fridays, Fun Activities, GEM Parenting Secrets, moms, Mothers, peer pressure, relationships, respect, responsibilities, Self Esteem, Thoughtful Thursday | 1 Comment
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1) I was brought up in a house with little self esteem by my parents.  Everything I did was not done right, with enough effort, or I just didn’t have the knack that others had.  Now I have two boys.  I think they are terrific.  I hardly ever want to tell them that they can do better for fear that they will end up like me. But I think I am swinging the pendulum in the exact opposite direction of my mother.  I read how there is a difference between egocentric and high self-esteem.  How can I know the difference?

2)         My children are constantly bickering.  It seems they cannot spend more than two minutes together without starting out at each other.  Then I get involved. We just go round and round in the same circle with no real end in sight.  And what bothers me is that I spend all my time telling them how awful they are.  I never seem to get around to letting them know that I even like them.  How can I get past this?

3) I have three kids.  All of them are exceptional.  They are good and better than most at just about everything they do.  I think they have really strong self-esteem but I want to be sure it stays that way and they don’t’ end up with some false sense of self esteem and just a bloated sense of themselves.  Any ideas?

Listen from your computer, call in live at (646) 478-4032, or ask a question in the chatroom. We would love to hear from you.

Please note: In order to use the interactive chat, you must register for free at www.blogtalkradio.com/gemparenting

Feel free to listen to our FREE radio show podcast from our latest radio show from Follow-Up Friday.

Thoughtful Thursday: Positive Intervention

June 5, 2008 at 11:00 pm | Posted in attitudes, children, Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Family Time, Focused Fridays, Fun Activities, GEM Parenting Secrets, moms, Mothers, Motivational Monday, parents, peer pressure, relationships, respect, responsibilities, Self Esteem, siblings, teenagers, Thoughtful Thursday, Tweens | 1 Comment
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I used Positive Intervention to stop over exuberance at a birthday party

Last weekend I had my youngest child’s birthday party.  We had twelve children including my two youngest. 

At one point we were playing Castle- the kids had played musical dress ups, and from there we evolved into castle with my daughter being the queen.  There were two knights having a jousting competition.  One child to began to take the jousting just a bit too far.  Rather than stand back watch and hope things would end up OK.  Or stop everything and single out the over jouster by telling him in front of everyone to calm down, I intervened.  I announced a short break for the jousters to everyone.  I took the overly exuberant knight by the hand away from everyone else.  I had him sit upstairs with me for five minutes to calm down.  When we came back down, I resumed the activity with simply saying we were done taking the five-minute break.

This is a perfect example of positive intervention.  No one was disciplined; no one was punished or made to feel bad in any way.  I simply intervened.  When you use positive intervention as one of your main principles of parenting you have only one course to go.  That is to create, instill, and maintain high self-esteem in your children.

What have you done lately that was positive intervention?  Why not share with others, and if you do I will personally respond back.

  

Motivational Monday: What is Natural Self-Esteem? A Short Overview

June 4, 2008 at 1:53 am | Posted in 1, attitudes, children, Creative Crayon Club, Families, Family Time, Fun Activities, GEM Parenting Secrets, How To, moms, Mothers, Motivational Monday, parents, peer pressure, relationships, respect, responsibilities, Safety, Self Esteem, teenagers, teens, Thoughtful Thursday, toddlers, Tweens, Wednesday Wisdom, Welcome | 2 Comments
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Welcome to GEM Parenting.

We just finished Teenager Month.

But don’t worry, if you missed the month just go to http://www.GEMParenting.com to find everything you missed.

Thanks to those of you who answered the survey.  I learned some practical and useful things from you.  And will be implementing your ideas in the near future. “What is Positive Intervention and how to implement it?” and ” What is real time out and how does it work” are the two teleclasses you want the most. The least desired was “Outdoor fun and safety.”  This is too bad for me because I love this topic.  Instead we will have “Fool Proof Net Safety” 

I will be sending information with the subject line: Parents of Teens – So only open if you are one – about a teleclass especially for you.  (You have to be a Pearl Member to get the discount. To join this complimentary membership click on Pearl Membership on our website at http://www.GEMParenting.com).  

But what I learned more than anything was that very few people actually understand what GEM Parenting is REALLY about. 

Although we do give good sound advice about parenting, asking in experts for GEM Parenting Secrets, giving you referrals to books and programs we think are valuable, having teleclasses and podcasts, our real secret is that everything we do is to help you understand how to raise your children with natural high self esteem. 

Surprisingly to me, many people don’t understand what the real value of doing everything you can to ensure your child has natural high self-esteem. 

Everything from your child’s attitude, morals and values, health, ability to succeed, desire to achieve, even life span, are directly effected by self-esteem.

I will be discussing the issues connected with natural high self-esteem through this newsletter over the next few weeks in lieu of GEM Parenting Secrets Teleclasses.

Does your child have low self-esteem?  Do you know the difference between raising high self-esteem and boosting ego?  Do you have any idea how to energize your child’s self-esteem?  Do you know how to use positive intervention and eliminate negative discipline?  Do you know that raising your child with high self-esteem will ease your life as well?  Your stress and anxieties will vanish as your child’s self-esteem soars.  Your child will be able to participate and engage in life on a level that is void of self-doubt and insecurities-for life.

The first tip you need to know is that the process is the most important aspect of your child’s life.  It is not the product that s/he produces.  The product is irrelevant if the process is not your child’s. 

Think back to your own childhood.  Everything you did was not about the product.  When you were a kid you wanted to get muddy, make something, eat your ice cream just the way you wanted (and maybe that meant getting it all over your face and down your front.) 

You may have been allowed to grow up this way, but my guess is that your parents were more concerned about the product-how neat you were, how accomplished you were, what grades you got- rather than the process of getting to being neat, getting to being accomplished, being educated regardless of good grades.  And if you did not live up to the desired product level, you were made to feel bad in one way or another.

And this is why parenting for you is such a struggle.

You would not have come to GEM Parenting (or any other site) if you were not struggling with parenting.  And I believe the bottom line of raising children is to ensure you create, instill, and maintain high self-esteem in your children.

Does your parenting style ensure you are raising your child with high self-esteem?  Please share its time we had some lively responses.  With over three thousand visitors someone has got to have something to say!

Tickle me Tuesday

One thing people have asked me to do is write a bit about some personal incidences-both about me, and people I have worked with.  So, I will venture out here.  Check out last Saturday’s post for the first one.

We will also have a book we recommend.  Only need to go to GEM Parenting to find out what it is.

Wednesday Wisdom

This Wednesday you are going to get the first installation of the real heart and soul of GEM Parenting.  An article you can get some real value from.

Thoughtful Thursday

Another slice of what it is like to be mom with high self-esteem raising kids with high self-esteem.

Follow Up Friday

 This is when you get to ask your questions.  And I am put on the spot to come up with answers to help you.  Of course some people sort of cheat and send their questions in ahead of time- I honor the first to come in by answering it first.

And how, when, and where does this happen?

How– It’s simple-blog talk radio.

You can listen, call in your question, or type into the chat session.

When– Friday at 9:30

Wherehttp://www.blogtalkradio.com/gemparenting

And of course Saturday is

Creative Crayon Club

My favorite day of the week!  I will give you fun, simple, and inexpensive activities to do with your children.  You know, good old fashioned family fun.

Enjoy your week!

 

Creative Crayon Club: Activities to do with your Teen

May 31, 2008 at 8:49 am | Posted in attitudes, children, Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Family Time, Fun Activities, GEM Parenting Secrets, How To, lying, moms, Mothers, parents, peer pressure, relationships, respect, responsibilities, Self Esteem, spirituality, sports, teenagers, teens, Tweens | 2 Comments
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This is out last Creative Crayon Club dedicated to parenting teenagers for a while. It has been a great deal of fun to put these together for you.  I would really love it if you would comment about your favorite thing to do with your teen.

Here are a few things for you to do that can help reduce lying in your house.

Household Projects

Give your teen a choice of household projects that you two will complete.  Pick one, create a time line for the project, and get to work.  Teens thrive on simple projects that give them the respect and responsibility of an adult.  When you do the project together you can have conversations that impart your values and morals without actually having to set up the conversations. 

Join a Club or Group Together

This can be anything from fly fishing, scuba diving, walking club, art group.  There are millions of things to do.  Find something that both of you want to try, but haven’t.  This put you on an even keel.  You are joining the group as two adults.

Find a Needy Group You Can Volunteer For

You can make a meal once a month for a shelter, find books to give to an under privileged school, better yet read once a month to some group.  Again, the list is endless.  Find some way to be the givers on an equal basis.

There is a thread to all these ideas.  Be active with your teen.  Don’t try to be their friend.  Find things that allow you to be together, without being peers.  As you treat your teen with respect, your teen will have respect for you.  And your teen will see that you are someone whose opinion they value.  When they feel valued they will be less able to lie to you.  It is also important to be sure that you remain the parent- the adult.  When you do these things the bottom line is that you give your teen the opportunity to develop into an adult with self respect and high self esteem.  

What is your favorite thing to do with your teen?  Tell us in the comment area.

Follow-up Friday: Teens and Lying

May 29, 2008 at 10:53 pm | Posted in attitudes, children, dads, Families, Family Time, Focused Fridays, GEM Parenting Secrets, How To, lying, moms, Mothers, parents, peer pressure, relationships, respect, responsibilities, Self Esteem, teenagers, teens, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Here are some questions that parents, just like you, have sent in to be answered.  Listen to Grace’s BlogTalkRadio show to get the answers to these questions and others on how to increase your child’s self-esteem to promote truth and honesty.  We look forward to having you join us!

Set Your Calendar

Fridays @ 12:30p.m. EST

~ Interactive Chat Room ~

~ Call-In Number
(646) 478-4032
To Ask Questions~

~ Invite Your Friends ~

[1] I have a teen who comes home late at night.  I am sure he is drinking.  But when I ask him, he just says of course not.  Is there some way I can ask him and get the truth?  Or should I treat him like I know he is drinking?

 

[2] When I ask my teen how school is going she says fine.   But I am sure that she is doing poorly in her classes.  How can I approach her and not turn her off?  I want to help her but just don’t know how to talk to her any more.

 

[3] I am a step mother to a 16 year old girl.  She has a flexible schedule between our house and her mother’s house.  Lately she tells her father and me she will be at her mother’s and at the same time tells her mother she is at our house.  So she is lying to both of us and doing things that none of us approve of.  How can we get the truth from her about where she is going?

 

Now Available! Live with Grace Podcast on Teens and Lying

May 29, 2008 at 7:51 am | Posted in 1, attitudes, children, dads, Families, Family Time, GEM Parenting Secrets, How To, lying, moms, Mothers, parents, peer pressure, relationships, respect, responsibilities, Self Esteem, teenagers, teens, Thoughtful Thursday, Tweens, Welcome | Leave a comment
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Did you miss it?

Live with Grace Teleclass now available on Podcast

 GEM Parenting Presents: Teens and lying – Is that my teen who is lying?

Featuring Grace E. Mauzy, M.A., and
Guest Expert, Jean Walbridge, L.C.S.W.,
from parentingadolescents
Educational ~ Motivating ~ Interactive

In this hour-long podcast, we discussed how to free both yourself and your teen from the need to lie. Your teen will respect you and him/herself enough to be honest and mature about actions. Rather than wondering and hoping your teen will not lie, learn how to give your teen the real freedom and maturity to be honest.

For only $6.00 learn how to get respect from your teen and watch their self-esteem soar. This is a must-have podcast!

Join GEM Parenting Teleseminar

By purchasing this teleclass/podcast, you will receive access to downloadable GEM Action Guide, Expert Article, and Grace’s Personal Article.

Thoughtful Thursday: Lying in Adolescense

May 29, 2008 at 7:34 am | Posted in attitudes, children, dads, Families, Family Time, GEM Parenting Secrets, How To, lying, moms, Mothers, parents, peer pressure, relationships, respect, responsibilities, Self Esteem, teenagers, teens, Thoughtful Thursday, Tweens, Welcome | 3 Comments
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On Lying in Adolescence

by Jean Walbridge, L.C.S.W.

Several questions submitted recently to this site are from parents concerned that their children have lied to them. For instance, a mother writes in to complain of her 13-year-old’s having invited a friend over after school instead of practicing his piano while the mother was at work. It isn’t even that he skipped piano practice that the mother minds so much, as that her son lied to her about it.

She says, “My son is transforming into a new creature.” And, by implication, she’s not so sure she likes the new creature he is becoming. He never used to lie–or so it seems. And he seldom disobeyed when he was younger. So what’s going on?

Adolescence is what’s going on. During adolescence, kids experience a developmental imperative: to become independent of the parents and to establish their own identities separate from the identities of their parents.

Beginning in the pre-adolescent years, kids will do anything to achieve these goals–including lying to their parents, if need be. I think the reason the mom we mentioned above was more hurt by the lie than by the disobedience was that on some level she realized that her son had chosen his relationship with his friend over his relationship to her. The lying cost him something in terms of his relationship with his mom. But giving up the opportunity to be with a peer would have, in his scheme of things, cost him far more, and in an area where he is far less certain of his standing.

Parents, in other words, get their feelings hurt by their children’s not telling them the truth because at bottom the parent realizes it is a sign that her child is pulling away from her, and there is some pain in letting go.

It hurts your feelings when your preteen lies to you, but unlike when she was younger, your teenager is not so powerfully motivated to avoid eliciting your anger or disappointment. In your teenager’s eyes, your feeling hurt or angry may be “a good sign” in that it proves to her, at least in the moment, that she is not being controlled by you, that you are not running her life… look, here you are hurt and angry. Doesn’t that prove that she decided to do this thing on her own? That she wasn’t allowing herself just to be your ‘toady’?

If it takes breaking an agreement with parents to do what the kid feels, in the moment, that she MUST do in order to move towards autonomy and identity, the kid chooses to break the agreement. He chooses himself and his peers over the relationship with the parents. This is what the parent’s deepest experience of hurt is about, and it comes from not realizing the power of the developmental challenge of adolescence: the child really MUST separate from the parent and MUST find his place among his peers.

Not that he knows how to do it! Not at all. There are many false starts and painful lunges toward proving himself autonomous and building an identity. Yet these attempts at growing up, however awkward and painful for all concerned, are necessary steps in learning to become an adult, in learning who he is. If he is truly to become autonomous, he has to risk hurting and offending you and actually needs, at least once in a while, to do something he’s sure you disapprove of.

It’s not that your preteen or teenager is becoming a moral cretin, or that you forgot to emphasize truth-telling during her childhood. It isn’t that the adolescent doesn’t know it’s wrong to break her agreements with parents, when she breaks a rule in order to prove her autonomy or to connect with peers, but she may not experience the same remorse as a younger child because the adolescent’s sense of imperative need weakens the sense of guilt. It is as if “she had to” do what she did, sometimes precisely because she knew you had a rule against it.

Because of the different function of lying during adolescence, I don’t think it works to assign consequences for the lying itself. The problem with giving consequences for lying per se is that it comes too close to demanding that the child hold the relationship with the parent and the parent’s values first in her heart, at a time when it is not normal to do so. Besides which, it focuses the child’s attention on what she said, rather than on what she did or didn’t do. This can really backfire, as when you find out that she had a party at the house when you were not home, which you have a rule against, and she tells you the truth about it. “Yes,” she says, “I did have the kids over while you were gone. I’m sorry. (Probably itself a lie.)” — then expects the consequences to be waived because she told you the truth!

I would even argue that sometimes an adolescent’s resorting to lying about her behavior (which very often involves a peer situation) is a “good sign”! — Because, if she is taking the trouble to lie, it must mean she still cares about your reaction and has not had to go so far as to simply defy all rules to your face. The lie is a signal that there is conflict: do I do what I want to here, and risk disappointing and angering my parents, or do I obey Mommy and Daddy? There is a pull towards dependence and obedience, but often an even stronger pull toward independence and acceptance by one’s peers. The occasional lie facilitates the establishment of a private space, an area of her life in which she is sure you don’t have control.

It is, simply, unreasonable to expect adolescents always to tell you the truth. Believe me, you don’t really want to know everything your adolescent is doing! And unless they get caught, you can’t implement consequences anyway. What we as parents need to realize is that in fact our children have control over this aspect of their lives, and we do not. They will tell you the truth or not, as they see fit. When you catch them in a lie, and it involves behavior that is important, that you have a rule about–you said they could not entertain in your home friends who use drugs, and you find clear evidence that the rule has been violated– attention needs to go to your kid’s having broken the rule, not to what he says or said about it.

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