coaching, homework, Working with teens

Developing a respectful relationship with your teen

If you want to develop a more adult relationship with your teen, the next few posts are particularly for you.

Be brave and plan to rock the family boat now. There is no better time! While you hold most of the purse strings you can create consequences that affect your teen quite easily. It becomes more difficult as your teen earns their own money or leaves home, so decide now what qualities and skills you want your teen to develop, and decide how you will help them develop those skills.

Teens experience rapid growth spurts and sudden surges of hormones. Many feel as though they are on an emotional roller-coaster. They doubt their ability to achieve goals they want, and might feel quickly defeated when there are difficulties. They also might hear from their friends that study is not that important, or they might want to go out and have adventures you might not approve of. There will be dramas, if not with your particular teen, then with their friends.

Help your teen succeed with their study: Take small steps most days not sudden panicky rushes of study just before exams.Your role as your teen’s family coach is to help them stay calm, focused and optimistic by helping them develop clear and exciting goals, and good study routines to achieve those goals, so they carry on working even when there are dramas in the rest of their life.

Before you speak – listen closely to your teen to understand . Remember back to a time when an adult didn’t understand or listen to you when you were a teen and talking about something important to you. Remember the feeling of powerlessness you felt when adults made important decisions that affected you, without consulting with you. And find ways to work more closely in partnership with your teen so they don’t experience the lack of power and control that you may have experienced.

Develop respectful decision-making gradually with your teen. Sometimes we parents believe that we know what is best for our children, and mostly we do. However, as our children become teens, we have to gradually share that decision-making with them so that they get the opportunity to learn how to make their own decisions, and reap the consequences of those decisions. A teen reminds me of a toddler you have on reins. As the child grows older you allow them to wander further away from you, but you still hold the reins. As with toddlers, teens need to be guided by us to take responsibility for their decisions. Then they grow into independent adults who no longer need our restraining hand, and who walk safely away from us.

The next post will suggest other ways you can develop a respectful relationship with your teen.

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