April 18, 2013

How to Balance a Parent-Teen relationship – Daily Balance tip by Kim Jacobs

As teens grow there is typically a struggle between the parent and the teen for control. In order for your teen to become a productive adult, you will have to allow them to have some level of independence.  The tips below will help you balance your role as a parent to help shape your teen into the productive citizen they will become in the future.

Talk with your teen, not at him. Try your very best to prevent arguing with your teenager, because it will only lead to you both saying things that you don’t really mean. I recommend that you take a break when you are upset and try to address the issue again later under calmer circumstances.

 Remember that they are always watching. We expect for our teens to be trustworthy, caring and responsible citizens.  Keep in mind, that they are watching your actions to see if you have those same qualities.  You have to lead by example in this case.

Be clear about your expectations.  It is easier to hold your teen accountable for what they are told in advance.  Be clear about what the consequences will be if they break the agreed upon rules.  I recommend that you create an accountability contract with your teen and have them sign it.  Also, make sure you follow through on what you say will be the punishment. If your teen knows that their actions will lose them their motivating privileges for a week they may decide to make wiser choices.

Keep your conversations confidential.  Offer your teen the opportunity to have confidential discussions with you without you telling everyone in your family what the two of you discussed. Your teen needs to feel that they are safe when they communicate real issues with you openly. Whatever you do, don’t bring the private discussion back up to the teen when you are angry with them.

 Keep an open door policy. Let your child know that they can come to you at any time to talk about anything. This is important for developing and maintaining a good parent/teen relationship. When they come to you with something, stop and take the time to listen to them, talk to them and connect with them. If you want any relationship to work, it requires time, energy and effort.

Be real. Just because you are the Father or Mother doesn’t mean that you are perfect.  It is appropriate to admit your own mistakes to your teen.  This will not only help them understand that you are human too, but it may prevent them from making similar mistakes. Be quick to apologize when you know you handled a situation wrong.

 

Know your teen’s interest. Get to know the music and movies that teens are interested in so that you can determine the appropriateness of the content. You will not be able to control everything your teen sees and listens to.  However, you can talk to them about listening to things that match the values you are helping them establish.

 

Talk about sex.  You should have candid discussions with your teens about sex and the risks associated with having sex, the lasting effects of being a young parent, the importance of abstinence.

 “Catch them doing something right!”Identify moments that your teen is doing exactly what you requested and thank him/her for doing the right thing.  It is always good to openly tell your teen that you are proud of them. This helps your teen have a clear understanding about how you feel regarding their positive actions. You can even mention your teen’s accomplishment s that makes you so proud in front of other family and friends. Sharing his/her accomplishments with others, but within his hearing range, will help the teen see the high regard you have for them.

Pick your battles wisely.  Every battle is not worth fighting. Decide which issues you will let go and which ones you will address with your teen. 

Are you struggling with your teen? What areas of your relationship give you the most challenges?

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