The Art of Parenting Teenagers

When talking about a good parenting teenager model, one example which pops up to me is Tiger Woods and his parents, Earl and Kultida Woods. These parents had invested a lot to make Tiger Woods a great and inspiring golf legend.

When Earl passed away at 74 on May 3, 2006, Tiger said, "My dad was my best friend and greatest role model, and I will miss him deeply. I'm overwhelmed when I think of all the great things he accomplished in his life. He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend. I wouldn't be where I am today without him, and I'm honoured to continue his legacy of sharing and caring.'" Don't you want to hear your teen says like that one day?

I am sure parents are willing to make sacrifice to hear such comments from their children. This excellent parenting teenagers model should become an inspiration for all parents of teenagers.

You can enhance your role in parenting teenagers by investing in quality time, fund, love and appreciation to improve your relations with your teenagers:

· Be their coach and mentor. Recognize their strengths and weaknesses and help them to overcome the weaknesses.

· Help them believe in themselves. Show them that you have confidence in them and that they can make the right choices.

· Acknowledge their efforts. Encourage them that they possess the attributes you want for them. In some cases, stimulate them to improve and do better.

· Teach them the value of respect by showing your respect to them.

Parenting teenagers implies managing the conflicts with your teenagers wisely:

· Reflect on what you will say, how you will say it, and resolve to control your emotion.

· Concentrate on their behaviour, not on the persons.

· Convey your messages clearly and briefly.

· Address only one subject at a time.

· Make them feel that in spite of everything, you still love them.

· Do not argue with their points of view. Rather, express your own convictions and stand points.

· Do not belittle them. Talking down to them will annoy them.

· Do not preach. Preaching them will incite hostile attitude.

· Do not set boundaries you cannot force.

Parenting teenagers is about sharing, caring and daring.

Discover 150 Proven Strategies Of Parenting Teenagers


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The Importance of Giving Teenagers Choices

Teenagers are growing, starting to think more independently and trying to be more independent. If they are not given choices, the consequences could include their not learning to make their own decisions or that they are always frustrated, angry and resistant to anything you have to say. Although it can be scary and take a little more effort upfront, giving teenagers choices when possible can be very positive for their development and actually save you, as the parent, a lot of frustration.

With that said, I want to stress that what I am saying is "give choices when possible' not "always give choices". Some things do not warrant a choice. For example - whether to attend school daily or not should not be a choice given to a teenager. However, a parent could say, "you can shower and get everything ready tonight and sleep until 6:30am or you can watching TV now and shower in the morning and get up at 6:00am." As the parent, you are not negotiating whether they attend school or not but you are giving them some control over what time they will get up for school.

This can take some thought and creativity but can be very powerful for teens. Ultimately, you will give them more of a sense of control while still having clear parameters about what you will and will not tolerate. I recently worked with a mother who was having almost daily battles with her teenage son about doing his homework. What was not negotiable was that he does his homework - it had to get done each night. However, this mother was able to give her son choices about when he did his homework which took a lot of the pressure off her and gave him more control. What this mother did was tell him he could do his homework right after school while having a snack or he could spend time with his friends after school until dinner time and do his homework after dinner but that there would be no TV, video games or phone after dinner until his homework was done. (This mother had also already established that if she got a report from teachers that her sons homework was not being done and turned in then he would lose all TV privileges for two weeks which was a really serious consequence for her son).

Tips for Parents:

1. Think about the things that you feel you constantly argue or "power struggle" with your teenager about (often times this is: what time to turn off the computer / phone at night, curfew, homework, waking up in the morning or helping out around the house).

2. Think about what things are NOT negotiable (and there should be things that are not negotiable!) and think about the areas where you can give them choices.

3. Be clear about what choices you can give them (and make sure they feel they are true choices on some level) and also be clear about what the consequences will be if they do not follow through. the example above - not doing homework was not an option and there were clear consequences for failure to do homework, however, this mother was able to give choices in the "process" of doing the homework.

This is not always an easy thing to do and takes some thought. If you feel your teenager is putting you on the spot about something, tell them you need a little while to think about it and then take the time to review the steps above. Again, when done effectively it will take the pressure off you and also teach your teenager some valuable decision making skills.

For more information on Life Coaching or coaching for parents please visit [] or email

My name is Karen Vincent. I am a Certified Life Coach as well as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. I have worked with teenagers / adolescents and their parents for the last 15 years in a variety of settings, including outpatient therapy, specialized schools, over the phone and in the home.

In my work, I partner with parents (usually through phone calls) who are experiencing difficulties in connecting with their teenage children and who are struggling to manage social, emotional or behavioral issues which arise during the teenage years.

Please call for a free Coaching Consultation: 774-245-7775

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Understanding a Defiant Teenager

Raising any teenager can be tough, but raising a defiant teenager is especially difficult. It's like a slap in the face to see the sweet child you raised morph into an angry, defiant teenager before your very eyes. Who is this person - this teenager screaming at you across the dinner table? What did you do to deserve such aggression and hostility? And, most importantly, what should you do? Should you ignore the behavior? Yell and scream yourself? Run away and hide until they are 30 and the phase has passed? While there's no one right answer, I'm hoping that the suggestions in this article will help to make dealing with your defiant teenager just a little bit easier.

First, examine the underlying factors of your teen's behavior. Many parents are in such a rush to "fix" things, that they end up treating the symptom instead of the cause. While some teenage defiant behavior is typical and even developmentally appropriate, there are many situations where the defiance is actually a symptom of something much deeper. Therefore, it is always a good idea to look closely to determine if there is a more serious issue.

Could depression be playing a factor? Are drugs or alcohol a possibility? Are new friends to blame? Or could your teen just be trying desperately to get your attention? All of these are situations that may need to be handled differently than a typical defiant teenager situation, so it is important to try to figure out the root cause of the defiance if at all possible.

Second, realize that this defiant behavior does have an upside. I know, that sounds completely crazy, but hear me out. The biggest developmental task of being a teenager is to figure out who they are as a person and to learn how to live independently. By challenging your rules and pushing the boundaries, they are practicing what it will be like in the real world, one where they will be forced to make their own decisions and think for themselves.

You have an amazing opportunity to show them the proper way to do this - to be in control of their own lives while still considering others and respecting authority. Even though it will be a long, tiring battle, if done properly, it is a battle with a purpose. Arguing with your defiant teen or watching them flat-out disobey you will probably always make you upset, but reminding yourself that this very process is shaping them into the wonderful adults they will turn out to be might make it just a little more bearable.

Third, hate the behavior...but love the teen. Although the eye rolls and backtalk might suggest differently, most teens really do yearn for attention from their parents. While this doesn't necessarily mean they would give up going to the mall with their friends to hang out with you, it does mean that all those little things that you do are noticed. Do you praise your teen for any of the positive things they are doing? Do you take time out of your day to talk to them about their interests and things that they would like to talk about? Do you keep asking them to spend quality time with you...even if they always turn you down?

These may seem minor and insignificant to you, but trust me, they may be huge to your teen. Remember when your teen was a toddler, and all the books told you to practice positive reinforcement? Well, it still holds true today! Teens would much rather be praised than fight, that much is obvious. But they would rather fight than be ignored. So make sure to take the time to show your love towards your teen. Even if it doesn't seem to make a difference to them, it'll ultimately end up making a huge difference in their behavior.

Looking for help with your teen? Visit My Out Of Control Teen - an online parent-program for those who are struggling with their teenagers.

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You Can Learn A Lot From Your Children

Wisdom and knowledge are valuable commodities, regardless of where it comes from. Although, you can learn a lot from other parents, there is so much you can learn from your children if you'll just be willing to learn from them.

In March of 2006, I lost my Dad. He had been battling emphysema for several years and was progressively getting worse. I remember being at the hospital after we had been told he probably wouldn't make it through the night. I made my way to the chapel and had a little chat with God. During that discussion, I let God know just how upset I was that after years of praying for my Dad, it had come to this. I really believed that God was able to heal him and my expectations were no less than that. God didn't pull through like I wanted Him to, and I was pretty miffed about it.

My emotions were running wild. I had this sense of enormous loss, I'm upset with God, I have a baby due in 6 weeks who will grow up never knowing his Pa-Paw, and I'm trying to make sense of it all. I would like to say that I finally got things together and became a rock for the rest of my family. The truth is, I needed some help from my 3 year old son.

As things were progressing at the hospital, my wife was at home with our son. I called her to update her on things and told her she needed to start explaining to him what was happening. She must have done an awesome job explaining things to him, because his response helped me put things in perspective. His last time to see Pa-Paw in the hospital was a little difficult for him. My Dad was wearing an oxygen mask and my son didn't like it at all. As a matter of fact, he wouldn't go any where near Pa-Paw at first. After my wife explained to him that Pa-Paw was about to go to heaven, he responded by saying, "In heaven Pa-Paw won't have to wear a mask."

When my wife relayed that message to me, I was floored. In that 3-year-old's statement, was a wealth of wisdom. All, my son knew, was heaven is a place where people aren't sick and the tubes, and masks that he had grown accustomed to seeing Pa-Paw wear, Pa-Paw would no longer need. I never wanted my father to die, but I have to tell you the vision of my dad in heaven with the ability to breathe freely, overwhelmed me. I had witnessed my Dad struggling physically for over 20 years and in a moment that struggle was over. Apart from a miracle that would not have happened here on earth.

I wanted Dad to whip this thing, but let's face it, 20 years is a long time to fight. The truth is my Dad was tired and weary but now he's not. He has no more battles to fight in his physical body and that is awesome. He is in heaven breathing without any problem for the first time in decades.

It is amazing how God used my 3 year old to teach me to look at this whole thing so differently. I could tell you numerous stories just like this one that illustrates the amount of wisdom I receive from my children. Trust me, your children will teach you if you'll allow them to.

Have you ever been in an argument with your teen and as words were being thrown back and forth, your teen spouted something that was dead right about you that caused your defenses to go up? I'm talking about some statement that you know straight up was right on target but you were totally offended by it. Now, I'm not promoting arguing with your teen. As a matter of fact, I detest arguing and sometimes err on the side of doing too much to avoid that kind of conflict. Here's my point. There may be areas in our lives that need some work and our children may be really good at recognizing them for us. Now, no parent really wants to admit that, but it is the truth. Sure, their attitude and approach may be way of track and you should deal with their disrespect accordingly. At the same time, however, try to look for any truth that may be in what they are saying and apply that.

There is a story in the Old Testament about a man named Balaam. He's on his donkey and there's an angel ahead of him about to chop off his head with a sword. The donkey sees the angel and stops. Balaam, who is unable to see the angel, gets irritated with the donkey and hits him in an effort to get him to move. The donkey then gets irritated with Balaam and turns and tells Balaam to knock it off. Finally, Balaam is able to see the angel, but had it not been for his donkey, his head would of literally rolled.

Now, a talking donkey is not something you see every day. But, the point of this story is that if Balaam can learn something from a donkey, you and I can learn things from our children. After all, our children are a little higher on the intellect scale than a donkey. I know sometimes you may doubt that, but it is the truth. We can learn things from almost anyone if we'll just be teachable. As a youth pastor, I learn things from teenagers all the time and as a Dad, I learn things from my children more times than I care to mention. It may be profound spiritual lessons or small nuggets of wisdom. Or, it may be simply reminding me of the character issues in my life that need attention as I see a mirror image of me in them. Determine to look for the wisdom your children can impart to you and believe me you'll find it.

Tim Stone is a veteran of youth ministry with over 15 years of experience in that field. He currently serves as youth pastor at Freedom Fellowship Church in Magnolia, TX. He is also the founder of, a website designed to inform and equip today's parents. For more tools and resources go to []

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What Do I Do If My Teenager is Running Away?

Running away is a very scary topic for parents and for society in general. The thought of a teenager on the street with no money, no plan and no true support would keep anyone awake at night. This article offers some explanation for why teenagers run away and some suggestions for parents who are experiencing this difficult behavior from their teenager.

Teenagers who run away are not "bad" individuals, however, they are clearly making bad decisions which puts their safety at significant risk. I have worked with a lot of teens who have run away and their reasons for doing so are varied. Some of the reasons teens have said they run away include: not feeling like they belong in school or in their family, not feeling like anyone cares, trying to escape a dangerous situation (i.e. they are being abused or a caretaker is abusing substances), they are trying to let others know how much they are struggling, they were frustrated and felt like they did not have any freedom, they thought it would be fun and exciting, they thought a boyfriend / girlfriend or older peer would take care of them, they were using drugs or alcohol, they wanted to get out of a punishment and peer pressure. This is only a sampling of reasons why teens may run away so you can see that there are a lot of reasons. Sometimes the reasons are legitimate and sometimes there are perceived, however, either way they can lead to dangerous situations.

Once teenagers run away they become dependent on others for food and shelter. Most teenagers are accustomed to having these basic necessities provided for them and have not thought their runaway plan through thoroughly. Once teens realize they need a place to stay and need food they can begin making unsafe decisions. Research shows that girls who run away are likely to be approached by a pimp looking to sexually exploit them within the first forty-eight hours of being on the run (see my article titled "Teen Prostitution" for more information about the sexual exploitation of teens). Other teens may be approached by other individuals who appear to be very nice and caring but who are planning to use the teen to commit a crime, buy or sell drugs or engage in other activities which place them at risk. Some teens become hungry pretty quickly (because they are not used to ever skipping a meal) and resort to stealing which can lead them to legal trouble. Some teens become cold or scared and trespass as a means of finding shelter which can also lead them to legal trouble. Many teens resort to hitchhiking because they have not thought their plan through and have no idea how to get anywhere without a parent to drive them. I have worked with teenagers who have run away and after about twenty minutes realize they are scared or cold and return back home with an apology, however, I have also worked with teenagers who have faced some of the scenarios above which have caused them some pretty significant trauma and which have caused their parents indescribable stress, worry and heartbreak.

As a parent, there are some things you can do that may help prevent your teenager from running away. You will notice that on the list below there is not anything about "giving in" to your teen or "buying off" your teenager. It can be very dangerous if teenagers learn that they can play on their parent's fear to get what they want. In the beginning, this can be fun and feel good to teenagers, however, ultimately it makes them feel like you as the parent, are not in control which can feel scary for them. So...if your teenager says, "If you don't let me go to the all night party I am just going to take off" and you give into this demand, you are likely in for a very stressful, uphill battle with your teen who will continue to use this tactic to get what they want. The tips below are suggestions, however, knowing your teenager will be critical in your deciding which tips may be most effective.

Tips For Parents Which May Help Prevent Your Teenager From Running Away:

Educate your children about the dangerous of running away (before this becomes and issue for them). Doing this can cut down on the fantasies that some teens have that running away will bring them freedom, excitement and a great life.

Be consistent with your teenager. This is often a struggle but it is extremely helpful when parents are consistent in both their expectations as well as the consequences for breaking the rules. By having open conversations with your children about your rules and consequences for breaking the rules, you reduce the likelihood that your teen will be shocked and overly emotional (which can lead to drastic behaviors) when you set a limit or issue a consequence.

Allow your teen some control during times when you are not having a conflict. This expands on tip #2. It is a good idea to allow your teenager some control in setting the rules and expectations of the home (within reason of course) because then they are less able to argue these rules when they violate them. Having your teen be a part of the process increases the chances they will follow the expectations you have set and if they don't that they will accept the consequences of their actions.

Don't allow your teenager to coerce you by making threats. As is stated above, don't let your teenager's threats to do something irresponsible or unsafe drive your decision making. Most teens will attempt this at some point however, if you stand your ground, they are likely to try this only a couple times before they realize it will not work.

Be clear about what the consequences are for your teen's behavior. To build upon tip #4, if your teenager says, "If you don't let me go on the weekend trip I am going to take off and you will be sorry", I would suggest you say, "Well, that would be your decision which you know is against the rules. You should also know that I will call the police and they will issue a warrant for your arrest as a runaway if you choose to make that decision". This puts the ball back in their court and the bonus is that it makes it hard for them to continue to argue because you are not telling them they can't "take off", you are simply telling them the consequences of taking off.

Keep your teen connected as much as possible. As I have stated in other articles, staying connected to your teen is a critical way of avoiding a lot of problematic behaviors. Ask about their day, show interest in what they like (even if you can't stand their music or choice of movies), ask about their friends, ask them to be involved in dinners or choosing what they would like for dinner and make sure you talk to them about yourself as well. This is not always received well by teens, however by doing these things your teen will feel like you continue to take an interest in their life, which is very important to their self worth.

Don't downplay behavioral changes you may notice. As always, it is important for parents to notice changes in their teen. A suspicion that they are involved in alcohol or drugs, being abused, with an older boyfriend / girlfriend, with a peer group that is involved in criminal activity or that they have significantly withdrawn from the family as well as from school are all warning signs that they may run away.

If your teenager does run away, it is very important that you contact the police and file a report. Even though this may seem embarrassing, it will be important in sending your teen a clear message about how you will respond to such behaviors as well as help keep them safe when they are making poor decisions. If your teen runs away it is also helpful to call any family or friends who they may reach out to and alert them of the situation which may help you locate them sooner. This can be a very stressful and scary situation for a parent so as always, it is important that you have your own support during such difficult times.

For more information on Life Coaching or coaching for parents please visit [] or email

My name is Karen Vincent. I am a Certified Life Coach as well as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with a Masters Degree from Boston University. I have worked with teenagers / adolescents and their parents for the last 15 years in a variety of settings, including outpatient therapy, specialized schools, and in the home.

I have developed and conducted numerous parenting classes and support workshops specific to parents of teens. I have also created and presented training for professional staff including teachers, therapists and counselors who work with adolescents in Massachusetts, Connecticut and in New York City.

In my work, I partner with parents (usually through phone calls) who are experiencing difficulties in connecting with their teenage children and who are struggling to manage social, emotional or behavioral issues which arise during the teenage years. Through working with me, parents are able to:

- work through any self doubt they are having about their parenting

- develop action plans for addressing their areas of concern

- develop new ways of parenting their teens effectively

- discover new ways of connecting effectively with their teens

- eliminate sleepless nights and worries while Restoring Peace of Mind During the Teenage Years

Please call for a free Coaching Consultation: 774-245-7775

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Valentine's Day and Teenagers - 6 Free Ways Parents Can Show They Care

It's Valentine's Day weekend, and how is your relationship with your teenager? Chilling as the cold frosty weather outside? Or is it warm and cheery that comes from the comfort of peace and tranquility?
Is your home filled with contention or harmony? Not that any special holiday is needed, but Valentine's Day can be a great time to begin a new with your teenager. Here are some ideas on how to share Valentines' Day with your teenager:
1. Say you love them
Many teenagers know that their parents love them, but may not hear it enough. The teenage years can be filled with joys and frustration for all involved. When conflict exists, a simple affirmation of your love can go a long way with your teenager. Although there is nothing like the spoken word, a note expressing your love for your teenager can also be meaningful.
2. Respect them
It is no secret that teenagers can be disrespectful to their parents. Yelling, talking back, and even derogatory physical expressions are common ways they show disrespect. The tempting part is to not reciprocate.
Respect occurs when you feel honored by another person regardless of a conflict or differing opinion. Some common ways of showing respect can be maintaining eye contact when talking, stopping what you are doing to listen to what they are saying, and avoiding name calling when arguing with another person.
3. Listen to them
Listening is so hard to do, not just for parents and teenagers. In the rush of what we want to say, our ears seem to take a backseat to our mouths. Yet, a person can feel very validated when another person is taking the time to listen, not just hear them.
Try taking some steps to be intentional on listening to your teenager. You know you are listening to the other person when you are not thinking about what you are going to say next!
4. Hold them accountable
Teenagers would love nothing more than to have complete freedom, without responsibilities, and no rules to live by. Where do I sign up for that lifestyle!
Unfortunately, that is not real life. As a parent, you do a big service to your teenager by holding the accountable for their actions with reasonable consequences. It will teach them responsibility and help them achieve the independence which they think they are entitled.
5. Communicate with them
One great way to keep informed of what is happening with your teenager is to communicate with them. Communication is simply an exchange of ideas between two people. It does not mean there is an agreement. In fact, often there is a disagreement between the two parties, yet they are able to discuss the matter in a calm, rational manner.
6. Forgive them
Parenting a teenager is difficult, and it can be a challenge to any sane rational human being. It becomes easy for anger and resentment to set it. However, this only leads to further disruption to your parent-child relationship.
Forgiveness is essential in a successful parenting relationship. Being able to love them where they are at, warts and all, and let go of resentment can be challenging. But, it can be the key to a closer relationship with your teenager.
As Valentine's Day approaches, what can you do to show your love to your teenager? Do you need to say those three important words of "I love you?" Do you need to implement more love and respect in your parenting relationship?
How about trying to hold them more accountable for the decisions he/she makes? Are they any areas where forgiveness needs to be played out more? Take the first step to improving the parenting relationship with your teenager!

As a parent of a teenager, are you interested in finding more way to connect with your teenager? I invite you to check out where you will find more information on thriving during the teenage years.

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6 Ways to communicate clearly with your teen

How would you like to have a closer relationship with your teen again?

Your ability to communicate effectively with your teen is one of the most precious skills you can develop to achieve this goal.

When we think of communication, we tend to think only of the way we can express ourselves. This is certainly important, but listening is the single most crucial of all communication skills.

As a mother of two teenage boys I know that

it isn't always easy to communicate well with your teen.

It's particularly frustrating when they aren't talking to you. However, when I started applying these techniques to our lives, I found that we started getting along better almost immediately. There was less arguing between us, and our relationship became stronger.

1. Make Your Teen Your Focus

Give your teen your full attention. I know that this is a toughie, because we tend to be so busy. It seems like we are always multi-tasking. However, it is important in clear communicating that you make a point of stopping what you are doing and really listen to your teen (rather than just hearing them).

When you give your teen your undivided attention they will know that you care, because you took the time to listen, and it will increase the chances that they will listen to you.

2. Get the Details

Hear what your teen is really saying! Teens tend to give terse answers to questions, leaving out details that may be important. It's

up to you to be able to get them to open up and draw them into a conversation.

Here is an example:

Teen: "I hate my teacher!"

Parent: "Oh, you don't really mean that!"

Teen: "Yes, I do, I double hate him!"

Parent: "Well, I don't want to hear that kind of talk. I am sure you don't really hate him!"

Teen: "Yes, I do so, I hate all teachers!"

Parent: "Do you think hating your teachers is going to get you a good mark?"

And on and on the arguing goes....

Here's an alternative:

Teen: "I hate my teacher!"

Parent: "Wow, you don't normally hate anybody. What did he do to get you talking like that?"

Teen: "A couple of kids didn't have their homework finished again today, so he decided to punish all of us by giving us a math test tomorrow!"

Parent: "That doesn't sound very fair!"

Teen: "No, it isn't fair at all. I wanted to go over to Rachel's tonight to hang out and listen to music. Instead I have to study for that stupid test. I am so mad at my teacher! He ruins everything!"

Parent: just listening.......

This teen was able to express herself and felt validated by her parent.

You will notice that the parent didn't argue about the feelings the teen had. You don't have to agree with your teen's feelings; just acknowledge them. There is no such thing as a wrong feeling. We can't help what our teens may feel, however, we should set limits on behaviors that don't satisfy what we consider appropriate behavior.

Expressing one's feelings is a healthy thing; although negative expressions of one's feelings should be avoided; like screaming or name calling. A good way to avoid this is using 'time outs' - wait and continue the conversation when everybody has calmed down.

3. Open-Ended Questions

Questions can be crucial to communicating with your teen. Ask them questions that they can't just answer with a "yes" or a "no".

For example in the above scenario the parent could ask the teen, "What could you do to help your teacher change his mind about the test?"

Teen: "I am not sure - this guy is so stubborn!"

Parent: "If you talked to him and came up with better ways for him to deal with the kids that aren't doing their homework?"

Teen: "Mmhhh, maybe I could give it a try....?"

4. Criticize Behaviors, Not Your Teen

Now, let's move from the listening to the talking part of communication.

When you want to see a change in your teen's behavior, use the "when you...I feel...because...I need ..." sentence. Using this wording (known as " I " message) doesn't attack your teen's personality; it merely talks about their action and that you'd like it changed and why.

Here is a scenario you might relate to: The chores haven't been done and your teen went out instead. This example shows not the best way of communicating by attacking them as a person and making statements you may not stick to anyways.

Parent: "You didn't do your chores! You are such a lazy slob! You never do your chores and I always have to do them for you. Next time you don't do them I am going to ground you for a week!

Teen: feeling pretty lousy...

Now here is an example with using the: when you...I feel...because...I need - technique:

Parent: "When you didn't do your chores before going out, I felt really mad. We had an agreement about chores being done before going out and I need you to do

your part of the chores or I am stuck doing them for you."

Teen: thinking - "I guess that makes sense."

Remember when you start a sentence with

"You are such and such...", you aren't

communicating. You are criticizing!

5. Let the Consequence Fit the Action

A fairly big problem that parents run into is looking for suitable punishment for broken rules. However, the penalty applied usually isn't related to the teen's action. As parents, we need to show our teens that each choice they make has consequences.

Parents tend to punish their teens by taking away something the adolescent enjoys; for example, no TV for a week. Take the above example of the unwashed laundry. It would be more beneficial to the development of your teen if you base the penalty on a natural connection between his action and the punishment. A good way of showing the consequences to his action in this instance would be having your teen do your chores as well as his next time, since you had to do his this time. When following this step you are practicing "silent communication" with your teen. Letting your teen experience the natural consequence of his actions speaks louder than any words ever would!

It illustrates to them that they will be held accountable for what they do.

As they grow teens tend to get more privileges from parents. It is important for them to realize that with the extra freedom there is more responsibility that goes along with it.

6. Using Descriptive Praise

We all praise our teen sometimes. We tell them "You are a smart kid" or "You are a good piano player" etc. We mean well, but unfortunately this kind of praise doesn't get the desired effect of making your teen feel good about himself. Why is that? It is because what we are doing is evaluating their actions. With this type of praise, we

aren't giving evidence to support our claims, and this makes the praise fall flat, and seem empty and unconvincing.

We need to describe in detail what they are

doing and as your teen recognizes the truth in your words they can then evaluate his actions and credit themselves.

Here is an example (evaluating praise):

Teen: "Hey Ma, I got a 90 on my geometry test!"

Parent: "Fantastic! You are a genius!"

Teen: thinking - "I wish. I only got it 'cause Paul helped me study. He is the genius."

Descriptive praise:

Teen: "Hey Ma, I got a 90 on my geometry test!"

Parent: "You must be so pleased. You did a lot of studying for that test!"

Teen: thinking - "I can really do geometry when I work at it!"

Describing your teen's action rather then

evaluating them with an easy "good" or "great" or labeling like "slow learner" or "scatterbrain" isn't easy to do at first, because we are all unaccustomed to doing it. However, once you get into the habit of looking carefully at your teen's action and putting it into words what you see, you will do it more and more easily and with growing pleasure.

Adolescents need the kind of emotional

nourishment that will help them become

independent, creative thinkers and doers, so

they aren't looking to others for approval all

the time. With this sort of praise, teens will trust themselves and they won't need everybody else's opinion to tell them how they are doing.

Another challenging problem is when and how we criticize our teens. Instead of pointing out what's wrong with your teen's actions, try describing what is right and then what still needs doing.

Example: Teen hasn't done his laundry yet.

Parent: "How is the laundry coming?

Teen: "I am working on it."

Parent: "I see that you picked up your clothes in your room and in the family room and put it in the hamper. You are half way there."

This parent talks with encouragement, acknowledging what has been done so far rather then pointing out what hasn't been done yet.

"Parents need to fill a child's bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can't poke enough holes in it to drain it dry."

- Alvin Price


For more helpful information and examples on good communication with your child I highly recommend the book by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish called: How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So They Will Talk,

Publisher: Harper, ISBN:0380811960.

Also, in the Fall 2005 a new teen version of the book is scheduled to be published -

"How to Talk so Teens Will Listen" -

ISBN: 0060741252.

Keep your eye out for it!


Is your teen going through a difficult time?

Sign up yourself and tell your teen about the FREE Teenacity Guide 4 Teens: 6 Tips to increase your teen's confidence and help her achieve her goals not matter what her life is like now!

Visit []


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4 Steps to Have a Great Conversation with your Teenagers

I'm sure that you want to have nice, gentle, and entertaining conversations with your teens. Unfortunately, I'm equally sure that it doesn't always quite happen.

Don't give up hope, though, there is a way to have a nice conversation with your teen (your spouse, coworker, etc.). A nice part of this method is that it costs nothing, doesn't take any physical energy (like to handcuff your child's hand so they can't text their friend while talking to you), and, as a matter of fact, it has mostly nothing to do with them!

Here's how it goes:

1. Recognize the difference between facts and opinions. Facts are absolute. Opinions are... opinions. Music over 85 decibel is a loud sound is a scientific fact. If you like it our not is an opinion. Hair painted green is green is a fact. If it is nice or not is an opinion.

2. When you disagree with a FACT that they say, do a Google search and see who is right. (Don't be surprised when they are!) There is now no need to argue and have bad feelings toward each other. Just move on to another topic.

3. If THEY say an OPINION about something that you don't agree with, DON'T say, "You don't know what you are talking about!".Rather say, "Interesting, I think differently." Or, "I never thought of it like that".

4. If YOU say an opinion about something that they don't agree with don't get insulted. Just ask WHY they think differently. Don't just feign listening to their explanation but really listen to what they say. Two things could happen. (1) You'll understand your opinion better. (2) You might change your opinion and be better for it.

Don't get my wrong. I totally believe that parents have the right and the OBLIGATION to transmit THEIR value system to their children (my opinion). However I also believe that there is a time and a place to it. If the timing is off then a long parental lecture won't accomplish anything but to close communication channels. And this you surely don't want.

I'm sure that you want to learn tips, insights, and tools on how to become a better husband, father, and person. Then click here and get the 15 page ebook (Snippets from) The Guide on How to Become a G.R.E.A.T. FamilyMan []

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