Pitfalls to Raising a Teen

It’s easy to make mistakes in judgement with teens. Here are some examples that may ring true for you.

* Did you ever find yourself giving the same lectures your parents gave you?

* Did you ever find yourself feeling upset and hurt when your teen wanted to spend more time with a friend than with you?

* Do you have the tendency to forget what it was like when you were a teenager?

* Do you do more lecturing than listening?

* Are you unable to set limits with your teenager?

* Do you have a tendency to be over-controlling rather than give your child reasonable choices about clothes, music, and friends?

* Do you argue with your teen in an attempt to see things your way?

* Does your teen avoid talking about sensitive issues like sex and drugs with you?

How many of these questions apply to you?

If it’s zero or one, you’re doing very well in your relationship which would likely be mutually satisfying and effective.

If it’s 2 to 4 you’re doing some things right but you still have some important issues to work on.

Anything more than 4, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and work out a new schematic.

Here are a few things to look at according to Dr. Daniel Amen, whom I often quote because he’s an expert in child development and neuro-science.

Are you failing to understand normal child development? Young teens are trying to develop a sense of identity and independence. Identity is formed in part from a teen’s peer group which normally becomes more important during this time. Teens will question your values and want to spend more time with their peers. So, don’t feel rejected, it’s a normal state of being for them.

At this juncture, the parent may feel they want to reject the child because they are hurt. A parent may spend more time at work or with the other children in the household. Beware of this behavior.

When a normal child pulls away, it’s done for developmental reasons, not for rejection of the parent. On the opposite side when the parent pulls away, the child feels rejected or confused although they may never say so. Parental involvement is critical to a teen’s development.

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