Parenting My Teen

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Tips On Communicating With Your Teen

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Emotional Health

All at once you may discover that you are at a loss for words when it comes to talking to your teen. Just a few years prior, they wanted a bedtime story or a comforting hug to feel that everything was alright. Well, they may decline the former, but the latter is still appreciated even if they say it is not. You just have to time it better during the teenage years.

But, that won’t get you out of the doghouse with your teen all the time. You will have to learn their language too. We’ll get into that in a second. First, here are some tips on how to simply talk to them.

 

Listen Actively

This is the number one way to communicate with them. Think about husbands and wives for a second. Wives can always tell when their husbands are not paying attention. It could be the glazing over of the eyes or even the fact that you are not looking at the person directly.

The same applies to you and a conversation with your teen. Conversations are going to get few and far between as they grow more independent of you. Treat each one as precious. Here’s how.

Make eye contact – Look your child in the face as they talk to you. What they have to say may not be earth-shattering but it is important to them.

Stop what you are doing – Conversations don’t always happen at convenient times. But, if you are reading the paper or watching a television show, put it down or turn off the set for a few moments and give them your undivided attention.

Resist the urge to form a response in your head – We’ve all done it before. As soon as the person who is talking to us begins speaking we feel we have the gist of what they are saying. So, we stop listening and concentrate on what we will say when they are finished. A telltale sign is that you begin to nod your head as if in agreement even if they are saying something that to them doesn’t deserve a nod.

Communicate what you heard – Sometimes what we hear is not exactly what is being said. When your teen finishes speaking, simply repeat back to them what you heard them say so that there is no miscommunication from the start.

 

Non-Verbal Communication

What you don’t say is just as important as what you do say. Kids and teenagers are quite astute. They can pick up on your emotional state from how you act. Use your non-verbal skills to put a positive spin on your talks with them.

Use open non-verbal gestures – When you sit and talk with your teen, keep your arms at your sides or on the arm of the chair. Avoid crossing your legs. Open gestures convey a willingness to listen. Also, try to avoid placing your hands on your hips if you are frustrated or pointing fingers at your teen.

Be mindful of your facial expression – It is easy to screw up your face when your teen says something that you don’t like. That sends the message to them that you have stopped listening to what they are saying or that they are not getting through to you. For example, if you were telling a friend that you were having plastic surgery and they frowned at you or furrowed their eyebrows, wouldn’t you stop talking? A disapproving look is just like saying “I don’t approve” with your mouth. Instead, try to smile when appropriate or keep your expression neutral. Resist the urge to roll your eyes also.

Make body contact – Teens are not averse to having their parents hug or touch them (except when friends are around). Sitting away from them can signify that you are standoffish about what they are saying. Sit next to them so that they know they have your attention and that you care. It provides security even though they may act like they don’t need it.

Keep a positive tone – When your voice drops an octave or two, kids get worried. Either it means that you are mad or not in the mood to talk. Use it sparingly though. Too much happiness in your voice can sound phony to them.

Mind the noises – This is a funny but serious one. Have you ever sucked your teeth or sighed heavily when your teen says that they want to talk. Before they even open their mouth they may turn and leave after a long sigh. Unconsciously, you could be pushing them away from you and towards the advice of their friends.

Be sure to check out Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen to grab some additional parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen so that you can stay close as a family.

Providing Structure for Teenagers in the Summertime

By: Aurelia Category: Family, Parenting A Teen

The summertime is fast approaching. Soon school will lock their doors and your children will be enjoying the lazy, hazy days of summer. As they say, Idle hands  can be dangerous.  It’s important to give your teenager both relaxation during the summers and some freedom, but it’s important to do so under an environment of structure.

In the old days, a summer day often meant running around outside from sunup to sundown, today — at best — it often means a long day indoors playing video games or watching TV. At worst it can mean a teenager who is bored (with idle hands) being tempted to get involved in things better left alone. That might be drugs, alcohol or sexual activity. It could also just be other dangerous activities  — like playing with the matches and candles in the house and burning down the house. Yea. It happens.

As a parent it’s important that you are always prepared for summer so that you can keep some structure in your teenager’s life. This is most important for young teenagers before they are able to drive or get jobs. The ages between 13 and 16 are the ages fraught with issues and honestly if you can get your teenagers through this time, you’re on easy street. Well, almost… but close. Fortunately, there are things you can do to provide structure whether you work outside the home or not.

Give them a job — Even young teenagers can do jobs around the house. Provide a checklist to the teenager to get done each day while you’re at work. It’s also important that you call and check in on the teenager a few times a day. The chores can be anything from cleaning the kitchen to cleaning out the garage to reading a certain book. It all depends on what you want to teach your child and the age and maturity of your teenager.

Send them to camp — Whether it’s overnight camp or day camp there are many different camps you can send your teenagers to during the summer. The experiences they have will often define their futures. A child who shows interest in space for instance, sent to Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama may get more serious about science in school and realize that they can become whatever they want if they work hard enough. 

Sign them up for community activities — There are summer sports and activities that teenagers can get involved in. This will require some commitment from you in terms of transportation. It doesn’t matter if it’s swimming, tennis, or volunteering at the local community garden there are many activities for teenagers probably right in your city that cost nothing other than transportation. Ask your student’s school counselor or advisor for information about how to locate these types of opportunities. They’re also great for college apps!

Let them take a class — Some community colleges, and even high schools offer summer courses both for credit and without credit. Some of these college summer enrichment programs can give teenagers wonderful insights and lessons that can help them decide their futures better. Some of these courses even offer the teenagers dorms and places to stay and some are even overseas. Summer reading programs at community colleges and four year universities for teenager are very popular. Look them up for your area via Google. Check out info from West Coast Connection.

Regardless of which avenue you take, one of them or all of them combined, it is important not to just leave teenagers at their own devices before they are 16, have a job and transportation. They need some structure and some type of accountability to help — not only keep them out of trouble — but to give them a sense of belonging and joy about life. What do you do to keep your teenagers busy in the summer? How do you provide structure during the summertime?

Be sure to visit Schools Out! Plan for The Perfect Teen Summer – If you are ready to discover how you can help your pre-teen or teen make it through summer by staying productive and out of trouble, this is for you. This package is equipped with a 10 Week Summer Action plan, 5 expert audio interviews, special reports and more.

The Choking Game is Deadly Serious

By: Aurelia Category: Teen Education, Teen Must Read Articles

Teenagers have not always been known for their wise decisions.  More often than not, teenagers make rash decisions that have very little conscious thought involved and are more likely spurred on by the crowd.  In the past, these “adventures” involved car races or some form of dare that might cause harm (or embarrassment).  Today the adventures have turned more deadly.  The trend is to play a game – only this game is one of life or death.

The Choking Game (also known as the Blackout Game or the Fainting Game) is when one person shuts off the oxygen to his brain (sometimes by strangulation) in order to get a high from the experience.  This intentional deprivation of oxygen to the brain can result in unconsciousness, temporary or even permanent brain damage, or death.

It is important to talk to your teenager about who he (or she) is spending time with or what he is doing with his friends when he is out.  These recreational activities that teenagers are participating in are no games.  Not only can they cause problems in youth, but they can also lead to more dangerous scenarios as the teenager grows older.  Some teenagers who participate in the Choking Game eventually develop an unnatural fixation on erotic asphyxiation.

There are a variety of reasons that people say they participate in the Choking Game – none of which have ever been substantiated.  Some claim that it produces a brief high.  Others say that cutting off the oxygen produces a more enhanced sense of erotic feelings.  Some even suggest that it gives the same feeling of being intoxicated.  No matter what the reason, the truth is that no one can be sure just how much damage is being done neurologically each time the “game” is “played”.

It might surprise you to find out that this game has been around for longer than most experts realize.  As long as thirty years ago, kids in the school yard were hyperventilating on purpose to get a high or dizzy feeling associated with intoxication.  Unfortunately, the teenagers of today have found more effective ways to play the game.  Even more unfortunate is that few parents realize it is going on.  There are very few documented cases of injury or death from this game.

Make time to talk to your teenager on a regular basis.  Talk about things in the news, hobbies and interests or whatever your teenager wants to discuss.  When things come up, talk about situations like the Choking Game and how deadly serious they can be.  The more open and honest you are with your teenager about little things, the more open he (or she) will be to your opinion about important issues.

If you are looking for help with your teen,  visit  This Link  and gain access to an online parent-program for those who are struggling with their teenagers. Learn cut-to-the-chase parenting strategies that work immediately rather than months or years down the road.

Be sure to also check out the Parenting Your Teen Program and learn How To Handle Your Teenager And All Situations Involving Him Or Her In A True “WIN-WIN” Manner And Develop The Co-Operative, Down-To-Earth, Frustration-Free Relationship That You’ve Always Wanted

Your Teen Still Needs You

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen

Raising teens can be one of the most difficult jobs you will ever have, but I promise you, your teen still needs you. It might seem like your teen is independent, freethinking and ready to be on his or her own, but in order for your teen to learn to become a good decision maker and develop habits that will see him or her through life, you need to be a guide, actively finishing the parenting job by raising your teens to adulthood. In fact, I would say that as much emphasis as there is on being available for the formative years of your children’s young life, more emphasis needs to be placed on being there for your teens and actively raising teens well past the end of the teen years.

Raising teens is different than raising younger children, and your approach needs to adjust with the age, maturity, and responsibility level of your teen. For some, the parenting efforts may be more stressful and hands on than for others. It is important, however, that even with the most responsible and mature teens, you do not assume that they are capable of doing without parental influence.

The wiring in your teen’s brain makes it literally impossible for him or her to make decisions in the same way that an older adult would. The teen brain is wired for pleasure and thrill seeking, not for unemotional or logical response. It is through raising teens that you help make those decision-making connections that your teen needs to start making decisions from a more controlled brain space.

Ideally, when your teen is confronted with the need to make a decision, you will be able to allow him or her to make the decision with guidance and input from you. A careful balance is required when raising teens; you do not want to be too overbearing and force your teen to accept your decision and you do not want to be too hands off and let your teen travel a dangerous path.

To get your teen to the point where he or she can make decisions and manage his or her own life successfully, encourage your teen to talk about decisions. Walk him or her through the decision making process. Teach your teen to ask questions and seek answers and have information before making decisions. There are many opportunities throughout your teens life where you can help your teen learn to be a better decision maker, from situations that occur with friends and relationships to decisions made about major purchases your teen is making (a first car, electronics).

Raising teens also requires you to understand when to let go. You have to allow your teen to take some risks and make some mistakes along the way. You cannot protect your teen from everything. That is probably the most difficult part about raising teens, is allowing them to make some painful mistakes. You can, however, provide an example of maturity and responsibility to your teen in the way you approach decisions in your life. When your teens see you weighing options, obtaining needed information, asking questions, and using caution, they will learn to do the same.

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Parenting a Rebellious Teenager

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Emotional Health

So many parents of young children joke about “the rebellious years” in a teenager’s life, saying they’re getting ready for the talking back or the “regular” teenage problems. They sometimes reminisce about their own teen years, making comments like, “I know what I was doing or thinking at that age and it wasn’t good!”

For many parents of teenagers, however, rebellion is a regular occurrence in their lives and it affects the entire family dynamic. This vicious circle often begins with the teen acting out and the parents reacting, which usually prompts the teen to react even more. Pretty soon the situation has escalated and even if the younger siblings aren’t directly involved, they witness the scenes and feel the tension in the home.

Sometimes the rebellion is simply the teen trying to discover him/herself. They might blame their parents for being too strict and might start dressing differently just to get a reaction for not fitting into the family “mold.” Or maybe their grades might slip because they’re tired of the pressure to always perform well. This type of rebellion is usually just a phase that peeters out with time and maturity.

More serious or constant rebellion can be a symptom of ADD/ADHD or even ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). This certainly does not mean your child is “crazy” (this word is truly thrown around too much these days) but you’ll need to seek the help of a professional to help your teen and your family cope.

Here are some tips if you find your teen is starting to rebel against you. Please remember that there are many different courses of action and not one solution will work for everyone. It’s vitally important to assess your own child’s behavior without comparing to other teen friends or family members.

1. Remember that you are the parent, not the friend. Parents are responsible for setting limits and boundaries and sometimes
this role is muddied in younger childhood. Do not be afraid to set limits, enforce house rules, and to voice your expectations. Don’t expect your teen to be a mind reader…have a conversation or write down the rules so everybody is on the same page.

2. Compromising is not giving in. If your child rebels against your rules and thinks you’re too strict, why not try to compromise with him/her? This isn’t to say, “OK, do it your way,” but rather gives your child a change to use his/her thinking skills to come up with a different solution. This give and take is an important life lesson to be utilized in their adult years.

3. It’s OK to dislike your teen’s behavior and it’s OK to tell them so. Believe it or not, this stranger in your house is the same little kid you used to push on the swing. But be sure to differentiate between loving the child and disliking the child’s behavior. Good kids often do bad things or make big mistakes and showing forgiveness and support is better than giving up on them.

4. Seek out medical help if you fear for your child’s safety. There are certain situations that are simply out of a parent’s control and require the help of professionals. Sometimes parents live in denial or a very idealized world, thinking they can solve the child’s every problem. Big problems rarely disappear on their own so don’t be ashamed of asking your doctor or school counselor for help, especially if the child’s behavior makes you fear for someone’s safety.

5. Remember your own teen years. If you felt stressed and rebelled as a teen, think about what would have helped you through that time? Tell your teen that you went through this period as well and some of the hard lessons you learned. Also remember that being a teen now is much more difficult than in years past. Kids are growing up faster and having adult experiences much younger, thanks in part to the internet, socialmedia, and peer pressure.

6. Listen to your teen. Yes, you might be thinking why would my teen open up in the midst of rebelling but teens are unpredictable. An incident at school or with a friend might spur the need to ask questions and parents need to be receptive to this opportunity. Teens often have to build up strength to start serious conversations and telling them to “Wait til after dinner,” most likely will shut them down for good.

“Rebelling” is almost synonymous with “teenagers” but if parents stay connected with their teen and show support and willingness to communicate, the rebelling can often be less stressful. Just remember that your teen is trying to find his/her way in the world and sometimes those are tough lessons to learn.

Raising a rebellious teenager is especially difficult and the suggestions in this article will help to make dealing with your rebellious teenager just a little bit easier.

Looking for help with your teen? Visit My Out Of Control Teen  – an online parent-program for those who are struggling with their teenagers.