Live with intent, take time, have patience and gain a new perspective. See how having a relationship with your teen can change both of your lives. Say goodbye to status-quo.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


1.) Don't be afraid of your teen child
In my experience, many parents take this approach with their children. They are afraid to confront, afraid to talk and afraid to hear their teenager. DON'T BE. Like any relationship, it's hard work to wrestle with things, especially that of the teenage girl: hormones, sex, boys, self-esteem and the list goes on. But the more you refuse to approach your daughter, the more she will recluse and withhold from you. Believe it or not, your daughter WANTS you in her life! It's just easier as parents to blame her age than to make a real effort with her. HOW you ask? More to come...

2.)Give a reason behind your "no"
"Because I'm the parent and your the child" or "Because I said so" is no answer. Come on, you can do better than that. I consider that a hierarchically approach. I also consider this authoritative behavior.
To build a relationship it requires conversation, communication, which to me is a TWO WAY STREET. You may be the parent and you are obviously older than your child, but how is saying that FACT, AN ANSWER? Why, just because they are younger than you or because you are the parent an adequate answer? How will your child learn anything by that sort of answer? Won't they learn more and become better people if they HEAR your reason? Do you even have a reason? And is your reason "good"? Tough things to consider, huh? We will learn about our own lives as we try to raise up our own children.

3.) Don't try to be her best friend
There is something to be said for being your child's friend. Not that it's altogether a bad thing to be her friend, but our first job is to parent. And just because we have children, doesn't mean we are automatically parents. IF you look at the definition of the word PARENTING it says it is a constant state, it is an adjective. Finding the balance of "being cool" or being her friend, and being a parent can be tricky.As my blog moves along I will be putting lots of input on this subject.

4.) Discipline is LOVING
One of the hardest things I had to figure out as a parent was that it is better for BOTH parent and child to discipline. From the very early ages to present, how ever you respond to "punishments" will reflect in the parent child relationship. Obviously the earlier you can start the better. When they are little and they are so darn adorable, it's nearly impossible to discipline. There is a stigma that we are "wrong" or "mean" for doing it. That is where feelings have to stay out of it. If I disciplined my daughter based on how cute and funny she was, she'd never be disciplined. Figuring out how and when to do it is also a challenge. Which again will be another topic I'll have input on. Because finding this balance, once again can be tricky. Some parents tend to be too heavy on discipline, and some not disciplining enough.

I am convinced that half the reason my daughter is so fun loving and happy about life is because of the constant praise I've always given her. We didn't really have much money until she was about 10 or so, so most of what I gave her were not things that could be held in her hands. It's so easy to look at our children's flaws, just like it's easy to look at our spouses flaws or our friends etc. . But with our children it's like we have this pre-conceived idea of WHO AND HOW we want them to be! But they are their own people! And as they go through life, in whatever they do, we've got to praise them to the max! They need encouragement with anything negative they might do or experience. They are growing to become people for the real world to connect with others, and survive in the workplace and school. Along the way we've got to be their cheering section, we have to.

Don't Assume

What I hear most often that makes me crazy is parents complaining that their teenager does certain things, and they say it like it's acceptable. For instance: slamming the door on their parent, or saying "I hate you" to the parent; things like that.
Or accepting that their daughter is hormonal and just living with the mood swings and crabbiness. Although, I admit, that is somewhat uncontrollable, but it's the WAY we deal with it as parents that can make ALL the difference.

I believe in my heart of hearts, soul of souls that the number ONE way to handle our teenagers is by BEING PRESENT IN THEIR LIVES. Developing a RELATIONSHIP with them.
Cultivating a safe, encouraging, supportive atmosphere for them in the home.

Building such a relationship takes time, effort, and intention, and a lot of patience. Like most relationships whether it be a spouse or friendship. It doesn't happen over night and it's not always easy.

Most parents are busy too; they have spouses, jobs, friendships, pets, houses, cars, lots of things that need tending to and that need their attention. And I do realize that lots of parents live in "survival mode"; there are situations where they are just trying to put food on the table, or there are multiple children in the home, and the parent/s are treading water. I totally get that.
But I think living with intent, and purpose toward your life and child, any parent can do this. We are so quick to have a million excuses or reasons to explain why we aren't able to parent the way we want, or we just assume our teen is "just this way".

Well I don't accept that and neither should you.
Be bold enough to do what appears to be the harder choice. Do something
that is an investment not only to your child, but to their children one day.

Our teens NEED US. I will accept my daughter's mood swings, I will accept her distance, I will accept, her boyfriends.
But that doesn't mean I won't work out those things WITH her.

I wouldn't let her slam the door in my face or tell her she hates me without addressing it with her. I would not yell at her for doing it, and I wouldn't necesserily punish her. My first goal would be to find out these 5 little questions.
By that I mean asking myself as a parent these tough questions that do take time to answer.
I won't assume that just because she's in her teens that that is acceptable.
I also wouldn't assume that it's her fault for doing it. I would actually take responsibility for it myself.
Sound crazy does it? Well my daughter is a teen but still a child nonetheless. The responsibility does not fall on a child. Yes they have certain responsibilities, but it doesn't fall on my daughter to be try to raise herself, which is what I believe happens when the parent doesn't take responsibility or the time to "deal" with unacceptable behavior. There is always something behind that behavior and it's our job as parents to find out the source.

I think if you are walking with your teenager from a very young age, and approaching a relationship style way with her, there would be no door slamming or awful words of "I hate you".

In my blog I hope to offer a different way to approach your children. A way that helps them and us. A way that takes intent and work, but the rewards are enormous.
This doesn't mean it's going to be perfect and smooth along the way, that isn't the case in any relationship.

Don't settle on the assumptions of the "typical teen" behavior, I'm not.