As our tween matures into a teen they begin to push the boundaries.
Our once sweet, loving and responsive child seemingly disappears and we are met with a sometimes aggressive, unruly and/or obnoxious teen.
Filled with raging hormones, affected by fluctuating emotions and influenced by pressure from peers, our once delightful child has gone.
SO WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
HOW DO WE PARENT THIS NEW CHILD?
I repeatedly remind my clients the following:
1. You as parents have never parented teens before.
2. They as teens have never been teens before.
3. Add 1 and 2 together and chaos is birthed unless some structure is put into place!
Here are some key tools:
- Separate the teen from the behaviour. DON'T WITHDRAW LOVE BECAUSE THEY HAVE OFFENDED YOU!
-Separate your emotions and feelings from their behaviour. If they trigger you, that is your responsibility not theirs. THEIR BEHAVIOUR IS THEIRS TO OWN, YOUR RESPONSE IS YOURS TO OWN.
- NEVER ENGAGE IN CONFLICT - WALK AWAY! I tend to think putting ourselves on 'time out' as parents is a healthy way to avoid arguments and voice raising. "Oh I am just off to the supermarket" is a good one if your child is safe and old enough to be left alone. When you are calm later engage in healthy communication.
- Many parents withdraw love because they don't feel like their child loves them back. THIS IS THE TIME YOU ARE TO LOVE THEM MORE! They want to know that no matter how horrible they are, you will never love them less. You do not have to like the behaviour but you can still love the child!
- Don't engage in negative attention seeking. The root of bad behaviour is often low self-esteem, shame and self-hatred. FEED THEIR SOUL WITH LOVE EVEN IF YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE IT. Transformation occurs because of your consistent love!
- STAY HEALTHY IN YOUR OWN GROWTH. Role model in apologising, taking responsibility, owning your behaviour - in essence your are planting seeds for them to do the same!
- Your teen will fluctuate from 'child' to 'adult' with lots of variations in between! Their 'child' state will reveal what they need (love), their 'rejecting', 'aggressive' or 'dismissive' state still needs that stability of love.
(For more help and support book a skype or one-on-one session with Sue O'Callaghan www.teenagetoolbox.com).