Hudson Valley Parent

HVP Novemer 2016

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28 Hudson Valley Parent n November 2016 with a bit more ease. 1. Communication is key - It is the life- blood of any relationship and the surest communi- cation killer is criticism as no one enjoys being confronted with their own or their group's defi- ciencies. As difficult as commonality can be with adolescents, don't close down the lines of com- munication. Adolescents want parents who talk with them and not at them - and they want it done in an empathetic manner. Avoid the "when I was your age" anecdotes. Instead, resist the urge by saying, "I know exactly how you feel, I felt that way too at your age." 2. Recognize the sadness - It will accompany the loss that both parents and adolescents experience during this transitional "letting go." For adolescents, it entails letting go of the illusions of childhood, like the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, as well as the comfort of having parents that are seen as deities who can fix everything and make everything come out okay, but letting go only means letting go of the old ways of relating, nothing more. Our teens need to learn from our experiences and we can certainly learn from them (a process called reciprocal socialization). I know my kids help me continuously with technology ahd keeping current. 3. Avoid stepping off - Don't let their behavior push you away. If you don't allow your children to BY PAUL SCHWARTZ T here are few situations in life more difficult to cope with than an adolescent son or daughter during the attempt to liberate themselves." - Anna Freud Parenting adolescents: The term itself is an oxy- moron. Adolescence is always a time of dramatic change for the entire fami- ly. When we come to the realization that our child is no longer a child - and that we can no longer shield her from all life's dangers and she must face unavoidable challenges without our help - it presents a number of distinct challenges. As parents, we need and want to be needed, and as adolescents their need is not to need us. How do you parent individuals who need guidance more than ever but scream at you about how they don't need the help? This generation of adolescents provides unique challenges to par- ents - as did every generation of adolescents since recorded history. There are scores of books written about how to "parent" adolescents, none of the titles depict the ambigu- ity and confusion of the experience quite like Anthony Wolf's two titles: "Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall?" and "I'd Listen To My Parents If They'd Just Shut Up." Hopefully, these seven tips will help you help your child negotiate this wonderful and difficult period express their anger and frustration, these emotions can come out un- consciously as attempts to get back at you through failing in school, drinking, drugs, or other dangerous behavior. Showing respect can pre- vent a rupture that can occur in your relationship at a time when main- taining connections are vital to the years immediately ahead. Although they resist our parenting, this is a time they need it badly. 4. Choose your battles - Be flexible when you can, but be con- sistent with the limits you set. As an adult, your responsibility is to set standards and demonstrate values. Teenagers need to know what you respect and expect. They rely on parents to set limits, especially to contain their more reckless impulses. Part of developing one's identity is testing limits. Don't be your teen- ager's pal, but rather their friendly guardian, concerned and stron enough to endure temporary ani- mosity. Combine firmness and flexi- bility and set limits in a manner that preserves your child's self-respect. 5. Don't criticize - It tends to breed anger, resentment, hostility and will usually result in a defensive response. When we make a wrong turn and lose our way, the last thing we need is criticism. What we actually need is a friendly person to help give us directions so we can get where we wanted to go. Call it constructive criticism, which has one main function: to point out what has to be done in the situation. 6. Remember that much of their behavior is somewhat out of their control - According Adjusting to adolescence PAUL SCHWARTZ Child Behavior "

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