Raising Teens for Dummies
answer the following questions: Is your cell phone bill out of this world?
Are boxes of cereal gone within a matter of hours at your house?
Does a member of your family have a flair for theatrics (i.e. incredibly
dramatic and/or moody)? Are you awake till the wee morning hours, restlessly
listening for the front door to open?
If you could answer affirmatively to all these questions, it's likely you have
what is called, "I'm raising a teenager and I'm going mad" syndrome. Never heard
of this diagnosis? If you've got kids, just wait - it'll soon sound familiar.
Before you go check yourself into the local psych ward, here are a few tips to
help you regain some sanity.
(1) Praise is powerful:
ever been nagged or told what you're doing wrong constantly? It's not fun nor is
it generally very effective in changing behavior. It just causes resentment. So,
if the nagging isn't working (and I guarantee it rarely will) try something
different like PRAISE. You may be saying, "But my kid is Satan incarnate. He
doesn't ever do anything worth praising!" You're wrong. We see what we choose to
see. View him through your "praise lens" and you'll be astonished at what you've
been missing. If you really want to see positive change, try 4 positives to 1
negative statement. This takes a watchful eye and often some creativity, but I
promise you will see a vast improvement in your teen's attitude and behavior if
you will do this.
(2) For Pete's sake, JUST
we're so busy, in a hurry to solve problems, or so bent on communicating our own
agenda that we rarely listen. If your teenager knows you'll just dismiss her
concern, criticize her, or suggest a quick fix, she'll eventually shut down all
communication lines. Even if you disagree with what she's saying, try listening
without interruption. Chances are even if you have a bad track record, your teen
will begin to open up to you. Then, and only then, will they want to hear what
you have to say.
(3)Set boundaries and extend
consequences when needed:
Believe it or not,
rules. They want boundaries (of course, they would never tell you that). Clear
and communicated boundaries will help your teen feel loved and secure. Your teen
needs a curfew. He needs responsibilities around the house. He need someone to
tell him about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and pornography. When she crosses
the line, there has to be a consequence. Conversely, if she does something
right, there needs to be a positive consequence. That's how we each learn, after
all. Just a note: If you say you'll do something, you MUST do it. Otherwise,
you've just burned an important bridge of trust that is hard to repair.
Give these a shot. Even the smallest effort will bring great dividends. I
P.S. These tips may also apply to partners, co-workers, in-laws, and young
children. You can even try them out on an unruly pet. However, no pet testing
has been done.
has been in the business of teaching, training, and coaching for over 5 years
and is a Mission Ignition Certified Coach. She recently started her own Success
Coaching business called Joy Quest Coaching.
She has an extensive background in leadership and instructing children,
teenagers, and adults in a variety of subjects and settings. Before graduating
from Utah State University with a Bachelors degree in Family, Consumer, Human
Development - Tara spent time abroad teaching English in Xiían, China and in
England as a religious volunteer. Post graduation, she was employed with the
Utah Youth Village where she taught at-risk families life skills as a Families
Besides her keen interest in helping people, Tara enjoys traveling, singing,
public speaking, reading, and most recently writing. She hopes to publish a work
of fiction in the coming year.
Tara has been married to her best friend, Luke, for almost 4 years and together
they have an adorable baby boy.
Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate
(Health and Geriatric Psychologist)
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