LIVING WITH TEENS
You Can Do It, With Time
Adolescence can be a trying period for both
parent and teenager. Many dilemmas--the wide variety of choices,
intense pressures to succeed, and the availability of drugs and
alcohol--can complicate a teenager's life. With time and
patience, you can assure that this period is rich and rewarding
for your family. You can create and environment for growth.
What is Adolescence?
By the age of 13, most children are breaking
away from their families. Friends appear to have more influence
than parents. The young teen is taking care of himself or herself
more and more.
Two opposing viewpoints can start friction:
- You may not be ready to let go. You worry
that your child won't benefit from your experience.
You're concerned about what friends may pressure your
teen to try or do.
- Your teenager sees a big world outside
your home. New activities and interests may not be shared
with family members. It's time to start thinking about an
individual identity. It's time to experiment, test the
limits, explore and search for oneself.
A Loving Interdependence
The basis for a positive relationship with your
teenager starts with an understanding of your interdependence.
You may see your responsibility as caring for your child. Your
child, as you see it, needs to learn that the way to becoming his
or her own person is by respecting and following your guidelines.
In helping to develop your teen's judgment and
sense of personal responsibility, you need to be a loving guide.
This means being there at all hours to listen, to answer
questions and to offer positive support.
It might help to recall what you went through
as a teen. You may remember that part of the process was scary.
At the same time you were feeling independent, you may have felt
For most teenagers, setting limits helps them
to feel more secure in the long run. The trick is to establish
and enforce your limits with mutual understanding and respect.
Your program for providing the best environment
you can for your teenager's passage into adulthood may include:
- An attitude of specific expectation. You
should agree on reasonable rules for living together.
- An ability to let go when the situation is
not harmful. Experience can be the best teacher.
- Positive reinforcement, whenever possible.
Teens, in trying to prove themselves, need all the
support you can give.
- A stable point of reference. Consistent,
fair treatment and logical consequences provide the best
framework for getting along.
- Recognition of your own limits. Drug and
alcohol abuse, or self-destructive behavior, can be
beyond your ability to help. Seek professional assistance
as soon as you need it.
You can teach responsibility if love and trust
are the basis of your relationship. A positive attitude,
realistic expectations, and open communication can help you
Copyright © 1989, PARLAY INTERNATIONAL