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Every parents dream is for their child to grow up successful in life, with perhaps a loving spouse, a great job, and a happy family. The dreams of parents and their child may differ quite a bit in how these signs of success are supposed to transform from dreams to reality.
Even as kids, each child begins to find herself, who she likes, who she hates and what she dreams of becoming when she grows up. From the playground on kids form small cliques with other children who share similar interests, and eventually they form emotional and romantic bonds with others.
This can be hard and scary for both teens and parents alike. As parents, we want to protect our children from the pain and heartache that can come with romantic relationships. We want to know that the other person will love and
protect our children the way we have done. We also might not approve of the choice in partners our child chose if their standards don’t meet or differ from ours.
For the teen herself, knowing that she is in conflict with her parents, it can be hard to confide any longer with her parents about the real stuff of her life. She may want to, but fears disapproval or embarrassment.
This is perfectly normal and it doesn’t make you a bad parent, but here are a few things you can do:
- Keep In Communications!
Talk to your teen about their day, interests, and friends. Sometimes all you need to do is ask.
- Have an open mind!
This is very important. Keeping an open mind to your child’s sexuality and opinions, even if they differ from yours will build a stronger relationship.
- Trust them!
Trust your teen. After all, you raised them. If you trust and believe in your teenager, then they will trust and believe in you.
- Listen to them!
Sometimes your teen doesn’t want advice. All they really want is someone to listen and understand them, and maybe a shoulder to cry on. This can be really helpful and your teen will want to come and confide in you more often.
- Love them always!
This is the most important. Your teen needs to know you love them unconditionally. More than just hearing that you love them, your teen needs to feel it and see that you love them despite their mistakes, opinions, or sexuality.
If you use these tips, I assure you that your teen will grow up strong and successful and have you in part to thank, whether she ever actually says the words, you will know she feels gratitude for your kindness as she found her own place in the adult world.
One thing I find over and over again is that Parents don’t seem to “get” their teens and tweens, and vice versa. There seems to be miscommunication going on. A teen or tween misbehaves and doesn’t understand why the parent is upset, while the parent doesn’t understand why their teen/tween can’t follow direction after being told several times. Often it’s not because the child in question wants to misbehave, and it’s not because the Parent is a ” bad” parent.
It’s the approach. We as Parents and caregivers need to take the negativity out of it when we talk to our children, even when disciplining. For example, try the sandwich method: First give some positive feedback: “I was so proud of you when you got that 100 on your spelling test a few weeks ago. Second give the bad news: If you can’t seem to find time to do your homework and your marks keep reflecting that, we will have to limit your time on playing video games. Now the rest of the sandwich: We really believe you can make better use of your time and get back on track to get good marks on your homework. If you need our help, just ask. We are here for you!
Here’s another of my thoughts on this:
“It is so important to be a role model to your teen! It is not only what we say and how well we listen, but how we live our own lives. That means it does matter how gracious we are, how kind we are, whether we are generous of spirit and eager to not hold grudges or be petty. It does matter what we say, but often it matters just as much on how we say it. Can we cushion a criticism with some sweet honey? Can we wait until the right moment to say something personal when no one else is listening? It all matters!”
Yes, all of the above does take practice. Learning to control our rage, our disappointment, our anger and instead finding ways to speak to our kids at the right moment, with supportive yet realistic reactions to their behaviors is almost an art form. But then again, helping a kid grow up successfully is like being a great artist. Every remark, every activity we do with them, every hug we give them are all the next tiny strokes in turning out a marvelous human being! Isn’t the time and effort worth it?
This short interview of me on Ebru television is filled with my suggetions as a positive psychologist and educator in how to stay alert for bullies.
Bullies are scary. We have to stay alert as parents. Watch for certain signs. If your child’s marks are falling down, she cries easily, she just seems different, talk to her. Stay alert. You have every right to be an alert parent. You can always call the guidance counselor or the teacher and see if anything is going on in school.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to be a listening mother, who is aware of your child. Lecturing is not what it is all about.
In The Truth (I’m I girl, I’m smart and I know everything) the girl shares how terrible she feels when her mother walks away from her when she is trying to talk to her. She wants to know from her own mother when she needs a bra. She really doesn’t want to ask someone else’s mother!
Don’t forget, mom, put down the cell phone when your daughter is checking in!
Also, more advice: be a good role model for your kids. They do model off of you and they want to be proud of you.
What I am saying can’t guarantee that your child won’t be bullied, but the more full your home life is, the happier the home is with you staying in charge as the ‘parent,’ the more you will be on top of any changes and be able to help your daughter.