I had a conversation with a fellow teacher at school the other day. We were talking about children. My children are all grown and I mentioned that it was so fun because they are my friends now. Her children are in their teens and suddenly she has become the “policeman” and doesn’t enjoy the easy relationship they use to have. She gets tired of being the parent who has to constantly monitor the video game playing and curfews and such. She has become the “bad guy”.
That’s a hard time of life to go through when your children are learning how to become more independent. They want and demand lots of independence, yet they don’t quite know how to manage it. Here’s some ideas on how you can keep a good relationship with your children through all the turmoil and growing up you all will experience.
Treat your children with respect. They are people, albeit immature people. They have feelings and want to be understood, so don’t talk down to them. Don’t lecture and issue commands for them to follow.
Talk with them. Understand their needs. Tell them your needs. It all goes back to Sesame Street and kindergarten when your child learned about COOPERATION. Both children AND parents need to cooperate with each other.
Case in point: video games. Your son wants to play them nonstop. You hate them. Cooperate. Talk about your child’s daily schedule and what needs to be done at what time. How much time is there for playing video games each day? Do other things need to be accomplished first, like chores, homework, etc? Is there a way your son can earn more time to play---say by doing an extra job around the yard or house?
Above all, listen to how you talk to your children. Don’t be sarcastic, demeaning, demanding, or derogatory. Talk with love in your voice and your child will talk back to you that way. And if she doesn’t, then sit down with her and express your love and concern and desire to work things out so you both feel happy about the situation.
Parenting IS work. But oh, so rewarding when you invest the best of you and appreciate the best in your child.