Help! Is My Teenager Okay?
By Donovan Grant
"Mother Nature is providential. She gives us twelve years to develop a love for our children before turning them into teenagers" ~ William Galvin
Believe it or not, living with teens in the house can be a tough challenge for parents! Trying to motivate teenagers to do what they are supposed to do is a test many of us have to undergo every day. Wouldn’t it be great if we could simply change this burden into a positive experience for both sides?
Parents all around the world are pulling their hair out as you read this because teens will simply be teens. Teens seem to do things their way or no way! In fact as a father of a teen, I have seen first-hand how a typical teen handles doing chores. Verdict: room for improvement.
You’ve got to admit that no one likes doing chores, so it is understandable that having to do them is frowned up on. The thing is that we parents can easily recall when we were younger in the ‘good old days’ when we did the work no matter what. The expressions “not now” and “I’ll do it later” were definitely not permitted in my household and probably yours too. So now we are faced with the dilemma of resistant teenagers and it is causing mighty stress in some households.
The result of teens not taking responsibility can be unpleasant for families. Often times this ends up in disagreements and stress for parents and the teens. Another thing is that it does not set a good example for the younger siblings to follow. The bottom line is that they’ve got to do the work otherwise everyone suffers.
We can’t be afraid to hold our kids accountable
The truth is that our sons and daughters need to learn about taking responsibility for their own actions. Where necessary they have to find out the hard way that their actions will sometimes result in there being ‘a price to pay.’ To be honest speaking as an inner city Londoner, a bit more discipline is one of the things that a young person can never have too much of. So what can we do to help them get back on track?
It’s time to lift our view of teenagers out of the shadows and into the light. The media does not help this situation because we get bombarded with a lot of negative information about our young people. In fact when your teen is outside the house they are likely to have more people telling them about their limitations than they do about their potential! Do you believe the hype?
“Teenagers are rude and lazy”
“I don’t like teenagers because they are rude and rebellious”
“Give a teenager an inch and they’ll walk all over you”
“My teenagers just cost me money and use me as their personal taxi service!”
You may have heard one of these expressions in conversation with other parents. You may have even use or two of them when talking about your child. If you have, then you’ve just told on yourself and now you can forgive yourself because even we adults slip up from time to time.
To be honest raising teenagers is hard work and there is no magic formula. A good place to start is asking yourself “if I were to be the best parent that I could be, how would I handle this current challenge?” You may find shifting the focus a useful tool to incorporate.
Here are some other great ideas that other parents do to help our teenagers to be a shining example:
1. Focus on the teen as an individual person, and not on a particular behaviour – what they do sometimes may be wrong. At the end of the day they are still your loving child.
2. Help your teenager go from teenager into a mature young adult – remember that we were once teens too. Meet your teen at their level, share their story and communicate from a place of empathy and caring leadership.
3. In tougher times we may need to turn to others community programs for help – it’s ok to ask another trusting relative or family friend to assist when you are stuck. Remember it can take a village to raise a child.
4. Aim to be a positive influence by building up, rather than tearing down the teen – when your child is away from the home, they always hold your family banner high. You owe it to them to hold the banner high inside the house.
Part of teaching our children responsibility is for us to let them know that we "respect" them and "appreciate" them. Communication is key so that we can understand them and to ask how we can support them. In fact it’s almost as if our ‘job spec’ changes from being a manager of a "child" to a life coach of a "nearly" adult.
Let’s stop listening to the “bad teenager” stories in the media and start creating our own good news stories today!
I believe in you and your dreams.
Ps. Got a teenage story that you'd like us to feature? Leave a message below . . .
Donovan Grant is a coach, mentor, copywriter, speaker and IT professional who brings his wisdom of parenting for the last 21 years and coaching clients through the stages of raising youth and empowering leaders with life lessons that are changing generations. He is a passionate and committed leader who believes that we all have the ability to help to change someone else’s life. Actively doing so as a catalyst for many years he teaches how to live a life of balance, integrity and fun, whether at work or at play.