If you’re just joining us, we are reading the book Boundaries With Teens: When to Say Yes, How to Say No by Dr. John Townsend. Go to the Reading Schedule if you want to start at the beginning.
We are covering chapters 11 and 12 this week. If you would like to join us, you can download the book for Kindle through my affiliate link: Boundaries With Teens and get started right away. Come back every Monday from now through the end of July, as we cover 2 chapters per week and discuss them in the comments of each week’s post.
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Every parent of a teenager soon learns that teens think differently than adults do.
We hear the things that they say, see the things that they do, and we wonder WHAT that child is thinking. “There’s something missing there. There must be!” And there is.
The good news is that your teenager’s brain is still developing. There’s still hope! Yet they aren’t totally lacking full development. You must know what part is fully developed, right?
Their emotional center, of course. The main control center of the teenager is the one that is almost completely formed. It is the higher thinking centers, that govern organization, rational thought, and the like which are still creating synapses. There is still work to be done, Mom and Dad. Your teenager needs you.
Your job as a parent is to guide your teens through the rough waters of adolescence, to the point where they are able to make intelligent decisions for themselves that aren’t based on childish whims, emotion, or self-destructive ideas. The goal here is to work yourself out of a job.
“Children can’t enter the world if they have not separated from their parents”
The pushing away that your child is doing– he’s supposed to do that. He may not be doing it in the right ways, but it still needs to happen. Don’t fight it. Provide those experiences and guidance that he needs in order to develop independence and still feel rooted and grounded with the family.
We want our teens to move on into life carrying their first relationships–those with their parents and siblings– with them. If your teen knows that you’re there for her, she will be better able to separate and feel safe in doing so.
Don’t criticize your teens decisions.
They may not always turn out they way they had hoped, but these are lessons that will stick with them. As long as they aren’t being self-destructive or doing dangerous things, allow the natural consequences without “I told you so”. Be that safe place to land when their plans fail. They will keep moving toward the goal of adult life and gain experience.
“Accept that your teen is being drawn toward something rather than away from you, and help her be as content as possible at home so that she wants to leave for the right reasons, not just to escape you.”
Help your child by preparing her. The amount of input that you give should gradually drop off as she gains the skills to maneuver the world for herself. Some areas which your teen may need guidance in are finances, cooking, interviews, and maneuvering through relationships. Be the guide but give her the reins.
There was a lot covered in these chapters that I didn’t even touch on. If you haven’t begun reading with us yet, please pick up a copy of Boundaries With Teens!