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.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

5 Things to Never Say to Your Child

1. Because I said so! (how does this build relationship? Having a relationship means being REAL. Being relational! Let's be mature enough as parents and walk through issues with our kids, we'll only earn trust and create safety for them by doing it. You have nothing to lose.)

2. Act your age! or You're 5 years old, so act like it! (Don't you think if they could act their age, they would? They are clueless on how they ought to be acting, so it's our job to not TELL them, but to show them, and to be a role model that inspires them. They will learn from us and by what we have to offer them to help them through life.)

3. Shame on you! (Creating shame for a child is devastating. It will block safety and trust. They have got to know that no matter WHAT they do that you love them and are there for them. They need a space where they can be open with us, and share. Shaming is condemning, and it's extremely unhealthy on so many levels.)

4. Shut up. (There are a million different words in our English vocabulary that we can use to get this point across. Nough' said.)

5. You know better! (I get how this one might seem confusing, because a lot of times they might know better; BUT how will this build relationship? We know that they are going to do things that they know they shouldn't. But they don't really know the reason NOT TO DO IT. Like we know why it's not good for them, but they don't. So instead of saying the obvious, why not take it as an opportunity to ask them why they did it, and share with them why it wasn't the best choice for them to do it. Again, it's all about being relational, relating to them and with them.)

They are not able to truly apply logical thinking until age 12 when their reasoning abilities kick in. At that age most things are only black/white, right/wrong answers.

Get On The Same Page

We all know it can be challenging to talk with our teenagers. Man oh man. That is an understatement. If I didn't live with intent, and make an effort, I wouldn't have the relationship that I do have now.

One thing that helps along the way that I thought I'd pass on by is that, I make sure we are on the "same page". Of course there are times during the week where I might feel a little distant from my daughter, or we might have a disagreement, or whatever the case may be. But if I feel any sense that there is unsettled business, I'll make sure I ask her, "Are we on the same page here honey?"

It's a question that she can answer honestly from. It keeps things open, so if she is feeling any emotion that is creating distance or a disagreement--they have the opportunity to share it with you. Instead of just "moving on" or sweeping it under the rug so to speak.

This also gives us a last chance as a parent to share how we might feel. Because sometimes along the way we do have to move on, but not until the issue is really dealt with. So once we both lastly lay what is on the table, we can then figure out a way TOGETHER to get on the SAME PAGE. Just because I'm her parent doesn't mean I'm not open to hearing her voice, or her feelings or her ideas! I've got to be open to them actually! The last thing as parents we need to be doing is having power trips. Being relational is the first goal, and then building on that.

So next time you don't feel quite "squared away" with your teen, be sure to ask them, "Are we are the same page?" AND "How can we get on the same page?"