“Dr. Fran Top 3 Tips for Parenting Teens”
- Parents need to create and nurture open, honest pathways of communication with their teens. This begins in the early childhood years by always telling your kids the truth as a model and expectation for them to do the same. This means parents must encourage healthy expression of their child’s powerful feelings, including anger, respectfully and directly expressed to Mom or Dad. Most parents are afraid of their kid’s rage and avoid or squelch it. When you give permission for natural feelings of anger your child feels seen, validated, understood, and accepted by you – flaws and all!
- Reward your teen’s responsible behavior with small increments of additional freedom. Adolescents want autonomy and independence. After all, the psychological goal of this adolescence parallels toddlerhood in that your teen must now resolve the separation she claimed from you from age 18 months to 4 years-old when she was saying no and having normal temper tantrum. So now, when she shows you excellent punctual school attendance, good study habits, consistently fine grades, and dependable responsible rule following, reward her with a 30-minute later curfew on Saturday night out with her friends.
- Always remember: Teenagers hate to be ‘told’ what to do. Drop any tone of over-directing or control in your tone of voice and replace it with warmth, clarity, and even inject a bit of humor. You’ll get much further with your teen if you state your expectations not as commandments but as gentle facts. Dr. Fran Walfish, psychotherapist, author, and expert panelist on ‘Sex Box’, WE tv premiering in the US early 2015.