Teenager Myths

ParentPondering

skateboardIn her post over at catholicap.com, Kim Cameron-Smith writes, ”

“I’ve found that the friction and hostility between parents and teens is not inevitable and it’s certainly not what God has in mind for our families…The truth is, we can continue to enjoy a thriving, healthy, loving relationship with our teenagers if we are willing to parent with our eyes and hearts open.”

Three things she shares with us, saying that every parent should know about teenagers:

1.  Teenagers actually want a closer relationship with their parents.

It is a real need for a teen to individuate – to define herself – who she is and what she is about … but this individuation process does not require rudeness, contempt, or rejection from teenagers….So how do we protect our relationship with our teen while encouraging his individuation?

Maintain rapport through 1) respectful communication; 2) a playful relationship and 3) clear expectations and boundaries.

Help her find her path:  As she searches for the things that matter to her, be the go-to person for your child as she seeks her direction in life. Practice kindness, openness and understanding. Make it safe for her to share her dreams with you.

Let her make mistakes within reason. Teens have their own ideas about how things should be done – how the dishwasher should be loaded, solve a geometry problem, how to resolve conflict with a friend. If we try to give them too much help, we squash the learning process that prepares her for making good decisions later.

2.  It is not healthy (or normal) for a teen to spend more time with peers than family.

Many parents assume that their teen’s obsession with being in constant contact with friends through email and instant messaging is normal and healthy but it is not; it cuts the primary role models – YOU – from your child’s life, especially in these years when they seek to define their values.

3.  A teenager’s body looks grown-up but his brain is unfinished.

The teenage brain’s pre-frontal lobe – which is involved in planning, strategizing, and organizing, philosophizing and pondering our existence – this part of the brain is unfinished in the teen years. Parents often lament some of the poor choices their teens make. Knowing this factor about our teens can be a huge help the next time they make a mistake. Helping them process their choices is more important than ever.

For the full post, hop over to the original article at catholicap.com.

What do you think? Agree or Disagree?

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