Parenting teens in today's fast paced, technological world can be tricky business. How do you incorporate the lessons and values that will guide them towards emotional maturity, and give them the skills to live a healthy, happy life?
"By creating an atmosphere in which families interact in ways that makes everyone feel respected, important, accepted, included and secure, promotes emotionally healthy and high-achieving children," suggests Gerald Newmark, author of How To Raise Emotionally Healthy Children.
It is vital that parents understand their teen’s behavior rather than merely react to it. "As we go about redirecting our children and disciplining them, it helps tremendously to see these behaviors as a child's best attempt to meet a need," says Mayim Bialik, author of Beyond the Sling.
By fostering a heartfelt relationship with your teen, you have a greater potential to positively influence their behavior. "When you have that vital connection, you don’t need to threaten, nag, plead, bribe—or even punish." - reports peaceful parenting expert, Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids.
By becoming an "attuned" parent, according to Daniel Siegel author of Parenting From The Inside Out, you start to recognize their child’s signals, interprets them accurately, and responds promptly and appropriately."
Siegel goes on to clarify "that doesn't mean you jump up, drop what you're doing and rush in to try and fix everything. It means you stay tuned-in to who your teen is and what you imagine they may need in the moment -- always remaining “flexible.” Sometimes, you may miss signals, can't respond promptly, or don't interpret the situation accurately ... but you can always circle back to repair any missteps, and try again. Remember, sensitivity is not permissiveness or over-indulgence, but being flexibly responsive in the moment."
Many parents were not parented in the manner that these child experts are suggesting. I find it interesting that we are expected to pass an exam to demonstrate the basic skills of how to effectively drive a car, while many parents simply repeat what they experienced in their own homes, despite the current research showing the negative impact of many traditional parenting techniques.
Parenting books recommended for parents of teens:
2. The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson - 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive
3. The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine - Explores the the fine line between parental under-involvement and over-indulgence, and the role of money and material goods in creating false promises of fulfillment.
4. Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson - is for parents who want to raise an emotionally intelligent son.
7. Parenting Teens with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay - How to create a positive learning environment for teens by giving them control of non-essential choices - designed to be the desired outcome -regardless of which choice they choose.
8. The Co-Parenting Survival Guide by Elizabeth Thayer Ph.D. and Jeffrey Zimmerman Ph.D. - Shows you how to avoid the common traps of hostility, inflexibility, and constant squabbling, and develop skills to sustain a co-parenting partnership based on love and concern for your children.
9. Teach Your Children Well by Madeline Levine - A parent's job is to help their teen to know and appreciate themselves deeply; to approach the world with zest; to find work that is exciting and satisfying, friends and spouses who are loving and loyal; and to hold a deep belief that they have something meaningful to contribute to society.
10. Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman - Demonstrates that many of modern society's strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring--because key twists in the science have been overlooked. NurtureShock gets to the core of how we grow, learn and live.
In closing, your relationship with your teen lays the foundation for how they expect the world to treat them, and how they will be treating others. By creating a relationship built on respect and kindness, you will have the greatest possibility of positively influencing your teen to become the best person that they can be.