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Taking Back Control: Controlling Uncontrollable Tweens And Teeens

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By mia bolaris-forget

When people “sign up” (as my husband puts it) for parenting, they think about all the joy of tending to a cute and cuddly newborn, but they rarely, if ever think about the future and how they are going to deal with a “wild” and “unruly” tween or teen.

Regardless of family values, morals, examples set and seen, and how good of a parent you are or think you are, the truth of the matter is that as kids grow, they “will” rebel, in some form and they “will” attempt to set their own standards, and asset their own identity and independence. In fact, a close friend’s daughter, barely a tween is already welcoming changes to her physical appearance that she feels will make her more attractive, appealing, and like mom.

On one hand, breaking out and defining their own life means you are doing your job right. On the other hand, you may be in for trouble if your child seems extreme, since “drastic changes” may lead to drastic and even dangerous behaviours. And, the sooner you address a potentially problematic situation, the better.

Understand and identify where your child is coming from: You need to get to the root of the rebellion and reaction, without focusing on the actions alone. Your child acting out is likely the result of not one, but series of events that may have been “troubling” him or her for some time, and now he or she is “mad as hell and not going to take it any more”. Note your child’s behaviour and change of behaviour, likes, dislikes, friends, etc. on a daily basis and don’t be shy or reluctant about engaging him or her in conversation, even if they don’t readily offer many answers. Also, if you notice significant changes, talk to other parents who your child is hanging out with so you know where they are coming from and investigate the situation at school too.

· Look to the past for answers: Sure you need to focus on the present and the future, but understanding and tuning in to what’s going on NOW may mean looking at what’s happened up UNTIL now. Keep in mind that young children and youngsters are often unable to express themselves and their frustrations until they are older, and at an age where they feel confident about taking control, which often takes the form of acting out.

· Keep and open mind, heart, and spirit: Remember, kids, as they grow are more uncertain about more things and areas of their life, which means more opportunity to make poor choices along the way, especially if their choices are frequently rejected or undermined. Be prepared to not only question their decisions but to listen to their reasoning and talk about possible alternatives and consequences. The more loving you are, the more receptive your child will be (so its best to put this practice in practice right from the start). Children, even if they want the option of breaking outside the box really want love, acceptance, and approval, and will get it anywhere and from anyone they can. It’s best that they get it from you, even if you really disapprove, as long as you let them down easy and tactfully.

· Put on your parenting pants: While you “do” want to have your child’s trust and confidence, these years are NOT the years you want to be their friend (that will come in time) Now you should focus on being their confidant, but it also means lovingly laying down the law, with them always understanding that they are unconditionally loved and that you only have THEIR best interests in mind. Let your child or children know that if you didn’t look out for his, her, or their well-being, health, safety etc. you’d be a lousy parent, and a lousy friend. In fact, ask your child what he or she would do if one of his or her pals was in danger, it’s likely they’d intervene…let them know you are no different and are simply doing the same.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Taking Back Control: Controlling Uncontrollable Tweens And Teeens

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