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How can I help my ADDICTED TEEN?
Will being ADOPTED make adolescence harder for my child?
How can I deal with the ANGER
in our family?
Is my teen's BEHAVIOR just normal teenage rebellion?
What do parents and teachers need to know about BULLYING?
What is EMOTIONAL ABUSE?
How can I help my OVERWEIGHT daughter?
Help! My teen is a RUNAWAY!
My teen is cutting. What do I need to know about SELF-INJURY?
What is 'normal' teen SEXUAL BEHAVIOR and what is cause for concern?
What makes a STRONG FAMILY?
Rules & Boundaries
Family rules and boundaries can provide a sense of stability to teens who are struggling to decipher relationships, roles, and even their own personalities. Although they may protest loudly against being required to live up to certain standards, when they have a hand in crafting those standards, and when those standards are demanding but fair, teenagers will flourish. Having something steady, firm, and predictable in a head spinning world is like being handed a map, with NORTH plainly marked. Clear boundaries and standards are the gauge by which all other information is measured.
Disciplining teenagers is difficult, but it is critical if teens are to learn that their behavior has consequences.
Some of the odiousness of enforcing rules can be eliminated by engaging children in the process of setting the rules and assigning consequences before the rules are broken.
When parents include teenagers in establishing clear rules about appropriate behavior and consequences, the arguments over rules and punishment end. Children can no longer claim that punishments or expectations are unfair, and parents can take on the role of calmly enforcing the pre-arranged consequences instead of having to impress upon the child the seriousness of the problem and scramble to find an appropriate punishment.
The temptation to react emotionally when children break rules is alleviated because a breach of the rules is no longer perceived as an assault on parental authority, since it is by the authority of the family, not the authority of the parents, that the rules were established. Helping to set the rules may not dissuade teenagers from breaking them sometimes, but it can help parents to avoid a power struggle with their teenagers.
Another big trap in parent-teen relationships is the confusion of psychological control (the opposite of psychological autonomy) with discipline. Demanding a certain level of behavior of children does not exclude allowing, or even encouraging them to think and express opinions different than one's own.
Too many parents get caught up in focusing on controlling their child, believing that controlling the way their child thinks will translate into controlling what their child does. By using guilt, withdrawing love, or invalidating feelings or beliefs, the parent hopes to make the child see things the parent's way, ensuring compliance with parental expectations.
There is a fine line here; one of the roles of parents is to help children make sense of the world by offering explanations or interpretations of events. It is when these parental offerings take on the tone of exclusiveness -- when parents cannot respectfully consider and discuss a teenager's interpretation of his or her own experience -- that psychological control has taken over.
Parents should also be aware that it is the teenager's perspective on the forcefulness of the suggestion which counts. Psychological control is damaging if it is perceived by the teenager, regardless of parental intention. While a parent may feel that a discussion has taken on the tone of a healthy debate, to a teenager the same interchange can feel absolutely crushing.
Interestingly, boys are more likely to report that their parents squelch their psychological autonomy than are girls. Whether this is a difference in the way parents actually relate to teenage boys versus teenage girls, or whether it is a difference in perception of boys versus girls is unclear.
When discipline becomes a matter of calmly enforcing family rules about behavior, many of the problems associated with psychological control are alleviated.
When children have a problem with delinquency, parents generally tend to respond to it with less behavioral control, and more psychological control as time goes by. This appears to set up a vicious cycle, as teenagers respond to both lack of monitoring and the presence of psychological control by acting out, or becoming more delinquent.
If parents can break this cycle by treating delinquent behavior with increased monitoring rather than attempting to control it by inducing guilt, withdrawing love, or other means of psychological control, teenagers are more likely to respond with better behavior.
In short, parents who concentrate on trying to control their child's behavior rather than trying to control their child are going to have much more success and a lot less grief.
Ask for the FOCUS Discount!
For a fraction of the cost of sending a child away to a residential program, parents can learn how to handle even the trickiest situations, and take charge of the family. Parents will confidently resolve the problems AT HOME. This is what a Family Coach is for: support the parents, build them up and guide them to be the best parents they can be!
by John Townsend
To help teenagers grow into healthy adults, parents and youth workers need to teach them how to take responsibility for their behavior, their values, and their lives. Dr. Townsend gives important keys for establishing healthy boundaries --- the bedrock of good relationships, maturity, safety, and growth for teens and the adults in their lives. Boundaries with Teens offers help in raising teens to take responsibility for their actions, attitudes, and emotions.
by Henry Cloud, & John Townsend
Boundaries with Kids will help you bring control to an out-of-control family life, setting limits while still being a loving parent.
Discipline ~ Often there is confusion for parents when 'discipline' and 'punishment' are talked about. They are frequently used to mean the same thing, when in fact they are quite different.
Discipline and Teens ~ It's about finding a balance - too little discipline and teenagers might get into risky behavior, too much and they might rebel.
Discipline vs. Punishment ~ The characteristics of discipline (1) focuses on what the teen needs to do in the future, (2) relates to the misbehavior, (3) helps the teen develop self-discipline and learn how to become responsible, and (4) helps the teen accept natural or logical consequences of the misbehavior.
Family Contracts Can Foster Responsibility ~ The key is to develop a system that incorporates the need for limits and accountability with the need for less control. A family contract can provide this balance.
Preventing Kids from Breaking the Rules ~ When it comes to rules, preteens and teens want to know the logic behind them. They are more likely to question your rules unless they understand the reasons for them. As a result, they are more likely to rebel when parents simply lay down the law and demand that it be followed. Instead, negotiate a balance.
When Your Teen Rejects Your Values ~ It is not uncommon in their quest for identity and independence for teens to reject some of the values of their parents, their church, and society. And to a degree this is not unhealthy. Young people need to develop their own convictions about life. And part of the process may involve challenging the values and convictions they have been taught.
When Your Teen Wants You To Say No ~ Research confirms what parents have known all along: Adolescents simply lack the ability to make smart decisions consistently. Parents have to hold the line. Your teen is secretly counting on you to do so. And too much is at stake if you don't. With their immature brains, teens routinely underestimate the risks they take, whether they're experimenting with drinking or getting "carried away" by sexual excitement.
© 2008 Focusas.com