Parenting a pre-teen or teen is an incredible roller coaster ride. You may feel so excited that you are communicating with your teen. The two of you are in sync. Life is smooth. Just when you are feeling at the top of your parenting game your stomach turns to knots as the roller coaster plunges you into feelings of inadequacy with the turmoil of emotional fights.
Does this feel familiar?
Here are some facts that I want you to remember.
~ Parenting is not for cowards.
~ You are the parent and authority figure in the home.
~ You are NOT your teen’s best friend.
~ You create the rules in the home and they are about safety. Any other rule is your issue that you have to deal with inside yourself.
~ You are the role model. Kids will learn social skills, work ethics, problem-solving skills and moral development by watching you.
~ Focus only on behaviors not the attitude when there is a problem. Remember the behavior change is what you want.
~ Everyone, including you, get “do-overs” everyday.
Now think about the roller coaster for a minute. It takes off fast to gain traction. It usually climbs slowly to the top and then takes off on all the twists and turns seemingly to defy gravity. Just when you can’t seem to take any more it suddenly stops. This describes a parent’s emotions when you allow your feelings or your child’s emotions to cloud the real issues. This is an adrenaline rush that can leave you exhausted physically and emotionally.
The secret is to focus on only what you can see and hear. These are the actions or behaviors that you address. For example, you see your teen cleaning the kitchen and you hear them grumbling simultaneously. Take a moment when the task is completed to say, “I really like to see you doing your chores, good job!” Did you notice that you don’t focus on the grumbling? That is right, if they are doing the action they are doing their job. The grumbling is a way of saving face or a way to bait you into a fight to relive their internal pressure. Let it go and move on.
My challenge to you is to focus only on the behaviors you see or you hear.