Despite all the warnings, it can still be a big shock when little angels turn into moody adolescents
One minute you’re getting on, the next it’s war. But it’s vital to remember that parents are supposed to set rules and teenagers are meant to rebel against them. So what can you do to ensure you both survive these difficult years?
REMAIN CONFIDENT IN YOURSELF
When you’re told you know nothing, look ridiculous and are the worst parent in the world, it’s hard not to take it personally. Try to remind yourself your kids are just seeing you through adolescent eyes.
REINFORCE POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR
Teenagers often think everything they do is wrong. Praise and thank them when merited.
GROUNDING DOESN’T WORK
The older and bigger they get, the harder it is to stop them walking out the door. It’s more effective to0 stop doing everything for them. If they won’t help at home after you’ve asked them to, don’t do their washing. Stop driving them and doling out money.
CHOOSE YOUR FIGHTS WISELY
Be willing to compromise on trivial matters. Focus on safety. Letting a 14-year-old go to a party where there’s alcohol is not safe. Nor is letting them hang out in a park at night.
PRESENT A UNITED FRONT
Adolescents love to divide and conquer their parents. If they ask if they can go somewhere or have people over, say you’ll talk to the other parent and get back to them. It gives you time to work out a joint response.
INSIST ON REGULAR FAMILY DINNERS
During meals, discuss any domestic issues, reinforce values and set house rules. Consider suggestions and complaints objectively.
TAKE SOME TIME OUT
If a discussion gets too heated, end it. Try not to react too strongly to bad language and name-calling. Say you’ll need to talk about the issue when you’re both feeling calmer.
IT’S ALL IN THE TIMING
Don’t tackle teenagers as soon as they come home or leave. Address serious concerns on long drives or after watching a film together.
TRY TO SET A GOOD EXAMPLE
If you yell, swear or slam doors, it’ll be hard to insist your child doesn’t.
Our job is to set our kids up for life, teach them life skills and encourage them to form opinions and make decisions.
New Idea Magazine
Healthy Mind with The Morning Show Clinical Psychologist