Tag: Communication

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What If My Teenager is a Thief

You got a beautiful necklace for the holidays, but the next time you decide to wear it, the necklace is not in your jewelry box. Then you hear your daughter was wearing one just like it at school, and you find it in her backpack. Your heart drops, you are disappointed, and you feel betrayed and downright angry. First, count to ten. Get past the emotional response and access the logical side of your brain. Most importantly, remember that this is a behavior, not a personality trait. Now you are ready to help them work through the situation.

Tips to Teaching Amends

It is understandable that you would feel hurt and betrayed when your child steals from you but try not to take the behavior personally. Their stealing is not about you or your parenting skills. Unfortunately, your teen has chosen an inappropriate way to solve their problem, and you can help change their thinking.

  • Do not let them think you see them as a horrible person. It bears repeating, remember this is behavior and not a personality trait. If they sense you have a bad opinion of them now, it could cause them to feel hopeless. They will lose hope in their ability ever to change.
  • Instead, shift the situation to the opposite way of thinking. Good people apologize when they make a mistake, not just because they got caught but because they hurt someone they care about. They also make amends for their behavior. Let your teen know you believe they are a good person, and you know they can do this too.
  • Let your daughter know that just because you want something does not mean it is okay to just take it without asking. This is faulty thinking. Ask her what she should do next time. Never let them benefit from stealing or keep what they took. If she still has the necklace, she should be required to return it with an apology, maybe even a written one, so she must think about the situation. Make sure there are consequences.
  • If she does not have the necklace anymore, she will have to work and earn money to replace it. If she does not have a regular job, then she can work around the house for designated points and be grounded until she has earned enough points to buy her restitution.

She needs to know there are consequences, but if you make amends, you can be forgiven and earn back trust. Your teenager is not a thief, she is a growing human who will make mistakes, and with a bit of patience, you can help her learn from those mistakes and grow into being a caring and loving adult.

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Opening Communication with Your Teen

Many parents believe that at some point around the time their kids become teenagers, their kids become foreign creatures who act bizarre, dress strangely, and are impossible to communicate with. It is important for parents to have open communication. It is also important for teens to be able to express themselves and be heard. Communication is one of the most powerful tools teens can have in their arsenal. Here are some tips for getting them armed for the future.

Steps to Teaching Effective Communication

Listening is the first and more important key to good communication. We need to encourage them to talk and then listen with interest when they do. Let them finish their thought without interrupting. It is vital that they know we hear them. Teach them to listen as well. Do not just demand they listen. Explain active listening to them and why it is important for them to use in the future.

Teenagers need specifics. When talking about issues, discuss behavior, not personalities traits. Try to be logical and not judgmental. Let them know what they need to be doing, but also let them know why. Knowing the reason for behavior helps them to reason through behaviors in the future. Also, please take this opportunity to teach them skills for communicating with adults. Sometimes they feel we are a little foreign too. Help them understand we are on the same side and want the same things.

When things get a little heated, take a break. Teach your teenager it is okay for them to ask for a break if they are getting a little overwhelmed. Be patient and allow them to gather their thoughts, catch their breath, and process the conversation. Teach them to do this as well and let them know that when speaking to adults, sometimes we are a little slow and need time to process information as well.

Communication is a vital tool, and teaching your teen how to use it correctly will serve them well in their future endeavors. Learn how to talk to your teen with patience and respect and teach them these communication skills as well. It is important to talk calmly, using logic instead of emotion. It is important to listen effectively without interrupting and letting them know you hear them. It is vital to communicate, a good skill for you, and a good skill to teach your teen for the future.

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Providing Support During the Holidays

While the holidays are undoubtedly pleasant for many, they can also cause problems for those in recovery. Not only do these celebrations often bring back reminders of times past, but the use of various substances during the holidays can make it hard for someone who has worked to get clean to stay that way. As a friend or family member, then, it is important to know how you can provide support during the holidays.

Don’t Leave Loved Ones Alone During the Holidays

For many, simply having a constant presence can work wonders. So don’t leave your loved one alone during the holidays, whether that means making sure that they have company during important events or simply checking in to have coffee from time to time. Isolation can be a significant issue during recovery, and those who find themselves struggling to connect are also those who might have the most prominent problems staying on the right path as the holidays come and go.

It’s also helpful to make sure that you provide safe alternatives for your friend or family member during his or her recovery. If the person in question is recovering from issues surrounding addiction, for example, you may want to avoid having parties in places that are closely tied to his or her addicted past. Likewise, simply being willing to stay sober during events can allow your friend or family member to feel like they are less alone.

The Importance of Time Management

Finally, make sure that your friend or family member isn’t using the holidays as an excuse to duck out of treatment. While business hours can change wildly during this time of year, make sure that you’re providing support to ensure that they can still get to therapy or attend meetings. Sometimes just being able to give someone a ride can be helpful.

Don’t be afraid to support a friend or family member who is going through recovery. Whether this means being present, providing stability, or just supporting the other person’s journey, you can do a great deal to help ensure that your friend or loved one has a better chance of making it through the holidays unscathed.

Family Psychotherapy. African American Couple Listening To Counselor's Advices During Therapy Session
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Discussing Intervention with a Teen

As a parent or guardian, it can be difficult to determine exactly how to start the conversation about treatment options with a teen. Not only do you broach a subject that’s difficult at best, but you may be looking at a situation that will generate a significant amount of pushback from the person who needs help the most. Learning how to start the conversation is often the best way to gain the confidence you need to move forward.

The Steps to Effective Interventions

It’s important to start by doing your research. There are necessarily going to be questions about what intervention looks like, how long your teen might need to be in a program, and other related factors. The more you know, the more you will be able to answer honestly. With that said, you also need to admit that you don’t have all of the answers so that you can honestly tell your teen what you know and what you do not.

From there, you need to think about the conversation itself. You’re doing this out of a concern for your teen, after all, and the conversation needs to center around him or her. A dialog is best, of course, but it’s not always a guarantee in these situations. Instead, you need to be able to calmly and honestly set out your concerns and your reasoning for choosing this particular intervention for the teen in your life. Centering things on your care for him or her may not make the conversation easier, but it may help you to avoid a more heated confrontation.

Finally, you’ll want to do what you can to get buy-in from the teen if possible. While it’s not a given in every situation, teens that go into intervention with the right mindset will usually have an easier time accepting the necessity of any program. If you can talk to your teen out of a place of love and concern while making sure to answer any of his or her questions as honestly as you can, you may be able to take the next steps as a team rather than in an adversarial relationship.