Bringing Up A Teenager

Bringing up a teenager in the family can be tricky. You want to love, protect and nurture them while at the same time encouraging them to become an adult and to have their own lives outside the family. There are some approaches that are more workable than others.

1. Some things have to be non-negotiable

Work out which rules or topics are non-negotiable. Talk with your spouse or partner if applicable to make sure both of you are consistent in this and are prepared to present a united front. What should those non-negotiable things include? Basically, anything which places a child’s life or health at risk. You have to be brave and allow quite a bit of manouvrability within those, though, or you might be placing what appear to be arbitrary constraints on your child.

Explain calmly to your child at a quiet time when you are in good communication with him or her -i.e. not in the middle of a dispute about something sensitive- why some particular items are not subject to negotiation. Have him or her see that when you, the parent, say 'No' or that a topic is not up for discussion, you are doing so in the best interests of your child. Get agreement.

2. Open up other areas

Go over with your child which areas are open for discussion and possible negotiation and why. Widen the field. Be adventurous. Let your child see that you are not trying to restrict him or her for restriction’s sake -be open to ideas. The more open you are, the more willing to work with a child’s desires you are, the more that child will see what you mean about the non-negotiable points and come to agree with you even more. Part of what drives teenagers to do dangerous things is a sense of rebellion, so don’t give them reasons to rebel.

3. Draw attention to past agreements

If your child has negotiated with you before and has been successful, he or she will probably try it again and may press even harder, knowing that you have given in in the past. Simply sa