Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Parent to Parent: Teenagers
They're the best years of a kids' life and can be some of the most stressful years for moms and dads. Your children are teenagers and times are changing. Here are seven tips to make it through the wonder years in today's Parent to Parent.
WSVN -- From rebellion to peer pressure, movies show all the scary scenes of raising a teen.
Bonny Sefton: "Teenagers are very challenging. It's true what they say, the bigger the kid the bigger the problems."
Dr. David Elkind has written the book on raising teens, and he's come up with seven parental pointers. For starters, he says let your teen express them self. Nicole Kidman's 14-year-old daughter dyed her hair blue. Other teenagers get pierced. Dr. Elkind said parents need to find what works for them and their teenager.
Dr. Elkind: "Parents have their own tolerances. You have to talk about it and say, 'This really bothers me,' and, 'Is there some other way we can do this?'"
We all know teens love to talk on the phone. Parental pointer number two: Find a way to make your own connection.
Dr. Elkind: "If we're willing to share our time and our experiences, then kids are willing to share theirs because it becomes a more mutual thing than an interrogation."
Parental pointers number three: When your teen tests you with an outrageous opinion, don't be too quick to pass judgment.
Dr. Elkind: "Make it a negotiation. Make it a discussion, rather than, 'You're wrong, and I am right.'"
Number Four: Dr. Elkind said teens are more willing to follow the rules if you plan punishments together.
Eliza Sefton: "Then we know our boundaries and where not to cross and what will happen if we do get in trouble."
Parental pointers number five: Show affection in private, so you don't embarrass your kids.
Bonny Sefton: "We don't hold hands. We don't show public displays of emotion after fifth grade. It's like an unwritten rule."
Number six: Punish behavior, don't attack their character.
Dr. Elkind: "We have a tendency when a kid does something wrong to say, 'You're always doing that,' 'You're so lazy' or 'You're always forgetting.'"
And, finally, number seven, be sensitive to your teen's feelings. Things like a crush may seem silly to you, but it's serious to them.
Eliza Sefton: "Listen to what we're saying and understand, and try remember back when they were younger."
A few parental pointers can help bridge the generation gap.
Lynn Martinez: "The goal is to keep your teen out of trouble by building a trusting relationship between the two of you."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Additional Advice from Dr. David Elkind: