Teens with Love and Logic:Preparing Adolescents for Responsible
Myth of Maturity: What Teenagers Need from Parents to Become
by Lawrence Balter, Ph.D.
are some ideas and techniques to help keep communication open with
your teenager. If they don 't work at first, keep trying. They take
Listen, really listen. Because we all have so much to do and so little
time, we often listen when we're cooking, cleaning, or fixing the
car. When teenagers want to talk, put your chores aside so that you
can really pay attention. But sometimes teenagers don't want that
full blast of attention and can talk more easily when you're not looking
at them, such as when you're driving.
Take the long view. Don't treat minor mishaps as catastrophes. Pick
important issues so that you don't make your home into a battleground.
Respect your teenager's privacy. But if a particular behavior is worrying
you, speak up.
Don't say, 'I know how you feel. Teens regard their feelings as
unique. They'll learn otherwise--without your help. And never imply
that feelings don't matter or will change because teens live in the
present. It doesn't matter that they will soon feel differently.
Don't judge. State facts, not opinions when you praise or criticize.
If you say 'This report card is all C's and D's; how do you feel about
that? you might leave the door open for a discussion.
Praise your child's efforts, not just accomplishments. It's hard to
live up to comments like 'You're a great artist. But I loved that
drawing is a fact and comes from the heart.
Set reasonable limits. Teenagers need them. Your rules should be consistently
applied and rooted in your deepest beliefs and values.
Find an activity you enjoy doing together and pursue it. If your invitation
is declined, keep asking.
Teach your teenager to make sensible decisions by encouraging independence
and letting him make some safe mistakes. Don't step in unless you
(Taken from Work & Family Life newsletter. Written by Lawrence
Balter, Ph.D. and edited by Susan Ginsberg).