Parent Talk: "I Love Them, But Sometimes I Can't Stand Them"- Six Steps to a Power Shift

"My teenagers are driving me crazy! I love them. I don't want anything bad to happen to them, but I just don't like being around them right now. I can't get them to stop fighting with each other...arguing with me...disobeying...being disrespectful. I'm going to lose it if something doesn't break soon."
Sound familiar?
If you're at this stage in your parenting, you probably feel absolutely hopeless. Your teenagers are running the show, and it's going to take commitment and resolve to get the power back-but it's vital, for their sake and yours!
Fact is, you're the parent.
You love your kids - it's part of the reason this is so exasperating and exhausting. You want things to be different, and you believe they could be. You know your kids would be much happier if they got on board with your expectations, but you just can't seem to find the way.
There are ways to achieve that, but first you need to realize that your teenagers are in crisis right now. They've been floundering without a lot of structure, and, probably with a lot of yelling and/or anger. So, before you can make behavioral expectations of them, you need to set behavioral guidelines for yourself. There are five rules for you to implement before you take the steps to reach your teens. Before you argue that it's impossible for you to behave well in the face of the way they treat you and each other-but if you can't do it, how can you expect them to?
Here are the difficult but basic rules you need to follow consistently:
Teenagers PromoTeenagers Promo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • No yelling at them-they probably don't hear what you say when you yell anyway.
  • No arguing with them - you're the parent, you don't have to defend yourself or convince them.
  • Smile and say kind things more than you say negative things. Teens are a product of what they perceive your expectations of them are. If they believe you expect them to act like monsters, they will. Empower them to behave well.
  • Apologize when you mess up.
  • Tell them you love them every single day.

Once you've made progress toward implementing those rules, you're ready to tackle the problems with the Six Steps toward reclaiming the power in your home.
1. Strip them of everything. This isn't the time to start with lectures like, "The next time this happens, there will be a consequence." I'm guessing you've been down that road. Now it's time to send each them back to their birthday, and let them work their way to the life of comfort and leisure they want, but don't deserve. Again, this is not cold-hearted. This is vital for the health and happiness of the whole family and so that these teenagers will grown into well-rounded, self-sufficient, respectful adults. That includes things like:

designer clothes
cell phone
etc...everything non-essential to life

2. Put it in writing. Make a list of the non-negotiable behaviors you demand from them. Short of meeting those requirements, they will receive only what's required by law: food, shelter, education. Anything else must be earned back. Slowly. If it's not in writing, it's open to interpretation. Then later, when they push back and want to argue about your expectations, don't reiterate them, tell them to do their own research, and read your list.
3. Require outreach. Get them involved in helping someone or volunteering somewhere that has nothing to do with benefiting them in any way. Let them see how rough some people have it. Once a week, or once a month will go a long way.
4. Get help! It's very important that, during this time, you seek the help of a spiritual leader like a pastor or youth leader who can help drive the point home. These efforts must be intentionally supported outside your home in order for them to have the greatest impact. A school counselor is good...but you really need and want the spiritual connection, too.
5. Don't rush the process. They shouldn't feel that treating people with kindness and respect deserves an iPod. What we're talking about here are the basic behaviors all human beings should extend toward each other. So let the process go on for a while so it really makes an impact. At a certain point, you'll know when it's been long enough-when the changes have taken root in the heart and aren't just on the surface.
6. Pray. Are you praying for your kids every single day? Are you talking to them about what's bothering them or making life challenging for them? Be sure to let them know how much you love them and let them see and hear you pray for them.

Nicole O'Dell, Choose NOW Ministries
...battling peer pressure by tackling the tough issues
Nicole O'Dell, founder of Choose NOW Ministries is a youth culture expert, who writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents about how to prepare for life's tough choices. She is the author of a bunch of YA books, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the upcoming Diamond Estates Series, 2011-2012. Non-fiction for teens includes Girl Talk, 2/1/12, which she wrote with her two daughters based on their popular blog column by the same name, and O'Dell's desire to bridge the gap between parents and teens is evident in her adult non-fiction like the upcoming Hot Buttons series.
The host of Teen Talk Radio where "It's all about choices!", Nicole dives in on topics like peer pressure, dating, purity, drugs, alcohol, modesty, popularity, decisions about the future, and many other things that might come up along the way. Over the years, Nicole has worked as a youth director, a Bible study leader for women and teens, and a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center. She lives in Illinois with her husband, Wil and her six wonderful kids--including a set of toddler triplets.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment