Sunday, October 17, 2010

Parenting Tip #54 How to not yell at your teenager

I remember my mother saying that the most fun of her mothering years were when her four oldest children were all in their teen age years at the same time. I agree. I also had four teenagers at the same time. So how can that be fun? Don’t teenagers rebel and cause you to constantly fight and yell with them?

It depends. If you are constantly yelling and fighting with your six and nine and eleven year old, then you’ll continue fighting and yelling with your teenager. But if you are disciplining with love and teaching and talking/listening to your pre teen child, then you’ll continue that parenting strategy with your teenager.

Teenagers are people. They deserve to be treated with respect. They are developing their autonomy, independence and individuality. They are trying to figure out who they are. It’s a tough time for them. So when conflicts arise as to when to do homework, when to socialize, when to do chores and when curfew should be, talk to your teenager like you would talk to your friend. Listen to their point of view. Think back to your teenage days and empathize with them. Then tell them your thoughts. Ask your teenager how you can both come to an agreement that works for both of you. Problem solve, give and take, think out of the box.

I remember talking to a mother of 6 sons and asking her for advice. She said “pick your fights”. In other words, if your teen wants to do something that you’re not totally against,let him do it-within your limits. But if your teen wants to go somewhere or do something you are dead set against, state your reasons why and ask him to trust you on this issue.

My fight was that my children had to practice the piano until they could play 10 hymns, at which time they could quit. All through their growing up years I would discuss options of how to make it more pleasant for them, offer incentives, etc. but the goal was 10 hymns and nothing less.

Another issue I would not back down on was sleepovers. One time my daughter wanted to go to her friend’s sleepover. Everyone was going and it was going to be so much fun. I was totally against sleepovers, though and she knew it. So instead of fighting we problem solved the issue and worked out a give and take. She could stay until 11pm, and then she had to come home. But I took her back the next morning so she could eat breakfast with her friends.

Don’t get in a power struggle with your teenager. If you have a conflict, remain calm (well try to). State your family’s rule about the issue. Be sincere.

Use natural consequences. If your teen stays out past curfew, she comes home early the next time. No yelling, no fighting, just calmly remind her of the rules (oh yeah, let your teenagers help you establish your rules and guidelines—very important! Then they will respect the rules because they helped establish them.)

And last, but this should definitely be first. Pray. Pray to your Father in Heaven that he will guide you as you raise your teenager who you have loved and enjoyed since he/she was a baby and which you will continue to love and cherish—even through teenagehood.

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