Your child becomes a teenager and parenting can suddenly turn into a frustrating experience. You are understanding your child from a different viewpoint in the circle of life. You could observe:
- That the harmony is gone in your relationship.
- You find yourself in disagreement with your child.
- You feel the so-called generation gap grew.
Yes, your child is changing, but the basic temperament is still there. Understanding your teen is still the key to having a harmonious relationship. These ten tips for understanding your teen and dealing with the new brain wiring will help you stay centered as a heartwise® parent.
While you used to pal around with your child when he or she was younger, you now have to set boundaries between your role as a parent or a friend.
1.Help stabilize the changes.
At this stage, you are primarily the circumspect parent who will listen, negotiate boundaries and behaviors, and stand steadfast in your expectations. Doing so helps stabilize all the changes the adolescent experiences. Friends can be found, but good parenting is a rare commodity these days.
2. Become Involved
Understanding your child as a teen means becoming involved while your schedule and life remain just as busy. Being involved is finding the time to be with them. Being involved means knowing where they are at all times and establishing communication protocols.
Even more important are the conversations about life your teen appreciates. These conversations open opportunities to understanding your child, as their thoughts and feelings change each day, disappear, and flare again: Listen to the what your child tells you about their life events. You will glean their thoughts and feelings so that they will be at ease coming to you if they are in trouble.
3. Train Teens in Accountability Skills
You as the parent, are responsible for preparing your child for adult life for as long as they live under your roof.
If they want something, exert the effort to achieve it or get it.
Being responsible for communication, earned expenses, and tasks is now their domain.
Money is not the important asset. Rather, qualities about handling money are what matters.
As a parent, you can help here by providing their allowance for completed jobs, but they must do their part. You are training them to survive in a competitive world.
4. Listen To Them
The teen years are crucial years for understanding your child. Teens expect you to hear them and decipher what they need or want. You may feel like judgments arise surrounding teen activities, finances, and studies. Don't worry because 99% of the job is listening to them and understanding what they want.
5. Explain Your Viewpoint
By letting teens know the reasons for any decisions you make, you empower them to make their choices. Offering them a reason, even if it considered lame by your teen, helps them review their personal choices. For example
Concern for their safety is why you establish a mutually agreed on curfew.
Your need to know where they are if they leave one place for a new destination requires a phone call to know they are safe and capable of holding their own among peers.
6. Tune In
Understanding your child occurs when you are
listening to their kind of music
keeping tabs on what activities they are involved in
Knowing the names of their friends
7. Be Flexible
Setting agreed-upon rules with your teen is always healthy. However, exceptions to rules always occur. Whether you are flexible enough to bend the rules requires discussion with your teen. Lay the groundwork for those instances when rules can be adjusted.
8. Share Your Interest With Your Child
Sharing interests with your child means you better understand them You learn together and share your experiences. You need to stay connected with your child through those teen arguments.
9. Keep Talking Even If Your Teen Is Not Listening
Teenagers do listen to their parents. While they may argue with you, your advice is well-entrenched in their minds. After all, you did raise them. Although they pretend passivity with what you say, the truth is that your advice has influence.
Understanding your child is the most important topic that you should learn as a parent. It is very helpful in becoming active in guiding and nurturing your children, as they grow and mature. Why? Your child has unique personality traits that remain consistent throughout life.
One way you can understand your child is by observing them as they sleep, eat, or play. Look for the consistent traits such as
- shyness versus being outgoing
- focused versus distracted
- cheerful versus stressed
- playful versus observant
- fussy versus more accepting
- Which activities do they like best?
- How do they negotiate change?
- Do they adapt easily to new situations?
- Do they need time to explore new environments or activities?
These average characteristics of a child demonstrate particular interests, choices, and behaviors according to his or her inborn temperament. This is the key to understanding your child.
Create space and time in your busy day to talk, but also listen, to your kids as this is crucial to gaining information about how they think and what they understand. In the case of young children, they require less verbal language and more facial expression and body language to understand their thoughts and feelings. Asking them questions will allow them to share their feelings and identify emotional patterns.
For example, ask them what they built with their blocks today rather than asking them what they did in school. What game did they play with a friend? Learn how they used their imagination to create and enjoy.What was their favorite part of the day?
Another way of understanding your child is by looking at their environment to learn about certain behaviors that you have observed. Special people play crucial roles in your child's life--family members, grandparents, child care providers, friends, and teachers. Of course, the home environment is the primary influence and can play a crucial role in your child’s behavior. For example, does your child show aggressiveness towards other kids at school? Find out all the triggers for their aggressive behavior.
Possibilities include their association with another child who is aggressive as well. The environment at home is another possible source for such conduct. Have there been conflicts and arguments at home lately? What about in the community? These are some angles to consider when trying to find the reason behind your child's aggressive behavior.
Also, you can learn about your child by observing other children belonging to the similar age group. You can check out books, browse the Internet and take an online class or two. Watching your child grow up may bring back your memories of going through the same growth stages. However, through each stage, the speed of development is a personal thing.
By understanding your child's development, you will be able to provide them with learning opportunities to support their development and prepare them for the next growth stage. At the same time, you as a parent would be able to set expectations and limits that are acceptable to your child.
Being a conscious Heartwise® parent is hard especially in this day and age when demands of work, financial commitments, and family tug on every parent. Quality time is hard to get when you are trying to juggle your time between corporate life and parenthood. Understanding your child’s temperament and traits are effective ways of becoming successful in the art of parenting.
Parenting the whole child implies that we honor our children’s wholeness while we dissect and discuss the parts of the whole—physical body, mind, emotions and spirit. It may indeed be paradoxical, but it’s our way of understanding how the parts contribute to the whole and our job if we work with parents, families, and children.
We consider our children’s wholeness when we:
- Bear in mind the emotional and mental factors that contribute to strep throat.
- Look to a biochemical problem associated with a child’s temper
- Consider the negative self-talk and thoughts that can float around in the head of a depressed teen.
- Regard childhood patterns from a holistic perspective. These can include a child who falls down all the time, one who has allergies, one who is shy and sensitive, one who doesn’t want to be touched, and so on. We want to help, but do we help their biochemistry, their behavior or their spirit?
- Think about how children spend their time, and if their activities are balanced between stimulation and quiet.
Bundles of Energy
The foundation of whole-child parenting is understanding that our children are bundles of energy in the form of thoughts, physical activity, emotional expression and spirit. Rather than thinking about managing our children, think about managing their energy.
The energy of the body needs food, touch, air and water. The energy of the emotions needs positive input like optimism, smiles and support. The energy of thought needs inspiration and imagination, or it gets bored. The energy of the spirit needs connection, faith, compassion and quiet. It needs calm moments of awareness.
Most of us know these things and have our own intuitive ways of mothering and fathering our children. In fact, the joy of parenting the whole child is discovering how much you already know and do. The ease of whole-child parenting is that when one avenue doesn’t work, there is always another way. For example, because we know that the nature of emotional energy can be chaotic, we can find several ways to structure and channel positive emotional energy with our child. We might follow schedules, share meals, read books or see a heart-warming movie.
A Soul Living in a Child’s Body
Thinking of a child as an “energy bundle” helps us take our parenting less personally when a child screams, “I hate you.” What we want to take to heart is that this soul is living with us in a child’s body. We are responsible for helping this child to develop in the best, most fulfilling way possible.
Parenting is really about educating the mind and body so our children are happy, successful and healthy in body and soul. Working with the mind-body connection is the foundation for parenting the whole child.
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See also Coaching Whole-Parent and Whole Child 1 and Coaching Whole-Parent and Whole Child 2
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