Tag: Parenting

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Fighting With Your Teen

You tell your daughter she cannot borrow the car to drive to the mall until she finishes cleaning her room. She says it is her room, and she will keep it how she wants. From there, the conversation gets ugly with name-calling, yelling, and slamming doors. Now you are receiving the silent treatment from a sullen teenager while you walk on eggshells to keep the peace.

What Happens Now?

Raising teenagers can be a challenge. Your priorities and those of your teenager are completely different. She is worried about being invited to the prom or keeping up with the latest fashion trend. You are worried about getting the power bill paid and making sure she gets a good education. Having one of these arguments is rough, but learning to deal with the aftermath can help.

Your daughter may want a little time to cool off and process. Give her the space she needs to work through her feelings, and do not push her to “be okay” with you right away. There will be tension in the room, but hopefully, you will be able to tolerate it while you both process the argument. Maybe it is you that is causing the tension after building resentment by what your daughter said. Are you frustrated with yourself because you gave in? Are you sad because she hit too close to home? Be sure to examine your feelings to know you are not causing the tension. Do not worry. The tension is temporary and will eventually diffuse itself.

Apologize if you said something hurtful. Take responsibility for it and let your daughter know that you realize your imperfections. Do not apologize for setting boundaries or rules to follow. If she is giving you the silent treatment, just talk to her as you would any other day. If she does not respond, just go about your business.

Use your disagreement as an opportunity to show your daughter by example the best way to manage anger and tension. Let her know you love her even when she is mad at you. Check your feelings, and be sure not to hold a grudge. Most things said in the heat of anger are not worth hanging on to.

Your feelings during this cooling-off period are essential, and so are your daughter’s feelings. Do not discount either. Instead, say something like, “I know you are feeling angry after our fight just like I am. I hope when we are both feeling better, we can talk about it and then move on.” If your daughter feels respected and has the space to process her feelings, the tension will dissipate before you know it.

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Do You Smell Alcohol on Her Breath?

She must have seen the commercials on television about the pitfalls of teens drinking. But she came home from a friend’s house acting a little wobbly, and you could smell alcohol on her breath. She is too old to spank, so how do you react to this dangerous behavior?

Find Out Why

There could be a variety of reasons why your daughter decided to drink. She was at a party, and that is what all her friends were doing. She was afraid to turn down a drink because her friends would call her names or turn their back on her. If it has become a habit, the problems may go deeper. She may be dealing with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or stress. It is important to find out the underlying issue.

You can help her by staying calm. Listen to why she is drinking and let her know you understand that she faces pressure and challenges in her life. If she realizes that she can talk to you openly about her feelings, you will be more likely to get the information you need to help. Try to explain the dangers of teen drinking without the lecturing tone of voice. It can make you more depressed or lead to permanently damaged memory. Getting drunk can lead to bad decisions or even legal problems.

Communicate and Learn

Let your daughter know that you want to keep honest communication open, but they do need to learn the consequences of their unwise decision. Do not punish them by humiliating them in any way, or you will ruin that line of communication. Ask her what she feels her punishment should be. You might be surprised by what she produces.

Have your daughter do a research paper on underage drinking. This will help her to learn about the consequences of these actions. It may also be a wonderful way for the family to come together and brainstorm ways to deal with situations in their lives when alcohol might be present, like a slumber party or get-together. This could be a helpful exercise for the whole family.

Catching your teenage daughter drinking can be a serious situation, but with calm patience and effective communication, it is a problem through which you can work. You may even find it brings the family closer.

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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.