Parents also need to learn how to evaluate different kinds of “problem” behavior and—when necessary—develop strategies for dealing with it. The trick is to remain calm while trying to tell the difference between dangerous conduct and normal strides toward independence. When behavior becomes dangerous, especially if it involves the “Big Three”—driving, drug/alcohol use, and sex—parents have to be able to draw the line.
Recent research indicates that open and friendly communication between parents and teenagers lowers the likelihood that the teens will get hurt by risk-taking behavior, though such positive communication does not guarantee that kids will avoid all behavior their parents might not like. Independence is essential if teens are to mature naturally and take their place in the adult world. To first-time parents of adolescents, though, independence sometimes looks like rebellion.
Here Are Some Ground Rules for One-On-One Time
How can parents stay in touch with their teens when it seems the kids are out with friends all the time? Or, when the kids are home, they’re in their room, on the phone or on the computer. One-on-one fun—not family fun—is a good start. Your teens may not want to eat dinner with the family, and family outings may not be on their agenda. But dinner and a movie, a shopping excursion, or driving around in the car—just the two of you—may help a lot. Let your spouse stay home with the other kids. Take turns getting to know the person your child is becoming.
Here are several ground rules for one-on-one time with your teen:
- No problem discussions about hair, grades, friends, texting etc.
- Make an appointment well in advance, choosing a time that is mutually convenient. Honor your commitment; no last minute excuses about being tired or needing to stay late at work.
- Put on your “active-listening shoes.” Let your teen talk without judging, correcting or interrupting.
- Talk about yourself! Without necessarily trying to teach a lesson, let your youngster know what you went through when you were their age.
One-on-one time can go a long way toward relaxing the day-to-day tensions that are bound to arise. If you don’t learn how to talk to your teens about little things, communication about the serious issues will be doubly difficult. A little patience and some willingness to loosen the reins—when appropriate—can pay big dividends for you and your teenager in the future.
Source: ParentMagic Inc www.parentmagic.com
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