Cooperation Begins with Trust

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9 Respectful Ways To Stay Involved In Your Teen’s Life

9 Respectful Ways To Stay Involved In Your Teen’s Life

Snooping or Shaming Teens Will Not Give You More Control or Respect: Here is What Will.

Teens…One minute they want all of our attention, and the next they want nothing to do with us. What happened to my open, sometimes clingy son? He used to share everything with me. He became secretive and elusive. My questions were answered with grunts, if at all. I remember really missing the younger years, as our sons became teenagers.

So what happens to our children as they enter their teen years?
They shift from getting everything they want and need from parents to their peers. This is a normal stage of development called “individuation.”

And, it can be really hard for us parents not to take it personally.

It may also feel like your teenager is being rebellious.

They are trying hard to figure out who they are separate from us, their parents.

We parents become a source of embarrassment. 

It often feels as if they don’t want us in their lives anymore.

teens positive parenting

So what can we do to stay involved in our teenager’s lives?

1. Respect their need for privacy. If their door is shut, it is important to knock and respect them if they say, “Go away”.

2. Have faith in their capabilities, and let them make their own decisions. If they choose to spend “too much” time with their friends and not enough on their homework, they will have to live with the results. You will not be there forever to remind them. Micromanaging will only cause more rebellion from your teen. Letting them make mistakes with no blame, shame, or pain is critical. If they come to you upset with the outcome of a decision, ask them questions can help them learn to problem solve. “What happened? What could have been done differently?” are the types of questions that will help them think through the situation and potential solutions. They do not need us to fix their problem or rescue them!

3. Try remembering back to what you wanted and needed when you were their age. Their priorities are probably pretty similar – friends, dates, belonging to a group, etc. That is where they are coming from, and the more you can understand that, the less friction there will be.

4. Really listen. Teens are more likely to open up when sitting next to you while riding in the car or walking side by side. It feels less intrusive to them. Asking questions that begin with “what” or “how” can show you are curious about what’s going on in their lives. “How did your project turn out?” or “What are you thinking about doing this weekend?” are examples of these types of questions. It’s then important to really listen, and be open to what they are sharing.

5.  Do something they enjoy, even if it’s not your favorite thing to do. Watching a horror movie with a shared bowl of popcorn is a good example.

6. Be there when they want to talk. Listen with an open mind and heart. Validate their feelings. For example, your daughter may come home from school complaining that she hates her best friend. Responding with, “What happened to make you feel that way?” “Hmmm.” “Sounds like you felt really hurt.” You are listening and engaging, and showing her that her feelings matter.

7. Sit silently with them, just to be together. If your son is playing a video game, ask if you can join him and read a book while he’s playing. Just being together is connecting.

8. Model what you want from them. Demonstrate what it’s like to build connections and relationships with everyone around you. Speak respectfully to others. Fully listen to them, and show that you are listening. Put all of your electronic devices away when having a conversation, look the other person in the eye, and reflectively listen. “I hear you saying you were upset….”

9. Have patience. This is a stage, and it too, will pass. By allowing them the space to become independent and resilient, they will be!
Remember, they are being a “normal” teen when they pull away from us parents. Think back – most of us did the same thing! And they don’t remain teenagers forever. If we give them the space to grow and learn, they often become our best friends in their twenties!


Connect with Carol on the Positive Discipline of Connecticut Facebook page!

Social Media + Tweens: Why we’re taking it slow…

Social Media + Tweens: Why we’re taking it slow…

We all need to make the choices that are right for our family, that fit with our values. Kids have to be at least 13 to be on social media. I know this isn’t really an enforceable rule and that loads of kids under 13 are using social media – but it is something I am going to choose to hold on to over here. I want my kids to practice integrity when they are online.I want my kids to be creative and expressive when they are online. I want my kids to value privacy.Continue Reading

Understanding and Stopping Back Talk

Understanding and Stopping Back Talk

The most important lesson in back talk is to help children realize that it’s not effective, polite or a respectful manner to communicate. It’s important to teach our children how to communicate their needs well. The aim in stopping back talk shouldn’t be to take our children’s opinions and needs out of the picture. Much to the contrary, it should be to help them instead learn how to politely disagree and make their needs known. Continue Reading

The Most Helpful Parenting Articles of 2014

The Most Helpful Parenting Articles of 2014

What was the most helpful parenting article you read in 2014? I couldn’t pick just one, so…. Here is a collection of the most helpful parenting articles of  2014 from fantastic parenting writers and educators covering topics like yelling, power struggles, behavior, picky eating, marriage, divorce, anxiety, smart phones, cyberbullying, and more,  plus some of the most…Continue Reading

How to Stress Proof Your Parenting for a Happy Holiday Season

How to Stress Proof Your Parenting for a Happy Holiday Season

The holiday season can be a big trap for stress and parenting self-sabotage. For the next several weeks, you may have high expectations for good, cooperative behavior.  You may get tired of fielding requests for big, expensive or so very many gifts. Comments from relatives at family gatherings may trigger self-doubt.  Little elves on shelves eagerly waiting to report…Continue Reading

How to Get Kids To Listen Without Yelling

How to Get Kids To Listen Without Yelling

Many parents I work with confess to yelling at their kids upwards of ten times a day. Parents say they do this most of all because they want their children to listen but they get zero cooperation. When promises, pleading and threats no longer work, yelling can feel like the only option. Especially if time is…Continue Reading

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