Kate Benson has years of coaching, mentoring and being a mother and grandmother. Her courses on parenting and teaching give her the opportunity to really address the fundamentals of the parent-child relationship. In Part One of her article on getting the best out of your family, she gives 8 immediately useful tips – 4 each for the parent and the teen – to really make a difference. www.meta-nlp.co.uk
I have spent a great deal of time helping parents navigate the trials and tribulations of the teenage years with their children. I also spend a great deal of time helping teenagers navigate the trials and tribulations of having parents!
These tips are not designed for the few parents and teenagers who have serious problems in their relationships and lives. It is designed to help you realise that you love your child and your child loves you. Read them together or separately, depending on how you feel. Perhaps you will gain an insight into what is going on for each of you.
Parents: You have probably found yourself getting wound up about the mess in the bedroom, the grunting communication, the cries of ‘everyone else is going to the party’, etc. Remember is that the teenage years are limited. In a few years your teen will be a responsive, loving, reasonable human being again, just like when they were 11. All you need to do is wait!
Teens: Sure, parents are un-cool and embarrassing and all your friends’ parents are much cooler. However, just remember your parents love you and want the best for you. It won’t be long before you are an adult. Just wait a while and everything will be OK.
Remember who’s who!
Parents: You set the boundaries, so decide what rules are absolutely immovable and stick to them, though some will change as you gradually relinquish responsibilities. Remember that you don’t have the right to yell, scream or ask your teen ‘how do you think I feel?’ You are the parent, after all!
Teens: We all know you’re testing the boundaries as much as it’s your parents’ job to set them and keep you safe. If you genuinely think it’s time they moved the boundaries, create a reasoned and balanced case and be prepared to discuss this without trading, threatening or stomping off!
Keep up, slow down!
Parents: The teen years are all about rapid change and development. Be ready for it! It might well be that your teen is a different person today than yesterday. Although they loved burgers yesterday, they have always been a vegetarian today. Actually, that’s true – after all they aren’t the person they were yesterday!
Teens: Your parents’ lives run slower than yours. Be kind to them and explain very carefully what is happening now in your life – after all the big decisions you make about your life will worry your folks. They don’t understand you’re not the 10-year-old they remember – that was then and this is now!
Stay connected and keep the freedom
Parents: Your teenager is able to go out and explore the scary big world only because they can be secure in the knowledge that you are a stable force in their lives. They might well be home late – but if you are not there when they arrive back or phone to check in, you will have to account for your actions to them! Teens need as much, if not more stability from you than when they were first learning to walk and explore the new world around them.
Teens: Now that you have a life outside home, let your parents have some freedom too. They used to have a life before you were born and quite enjoy a night out or a chance to act on a whim. If they are not home when you get in, don’t panic and just give them a call to ask what time they will be home. You will score lots of points for this approach – and you can cash them in at a later date, like the next time you forget to say where you are going!
Kate’s General Advice:
Life with your children or your parents can be a pleasure or a pain. It’s just a matter of making some adjustments to navigate through an exciting and formative change in your relationship. The most useful skill you can gain is to smile, take yourselves lightly and enjoy the ride