Parent Center Communication
From a WholeFamily User Dear Jenny, As a child I remember the conversations I would have with my mother. She would hear me, but not really be listening. I used to say that when I grew up I would never be like that - I would always listen to my children. Now I'm a mother of two and I often catch myself doing the same thing to my own children. And I now understand my mother. Have you ever missed what someone was saying because you were thinking about the next clever thing you were going to say? It's something people often do when arguing and often why the argument goes on and on. Nobody is listening to the other! I'm not saying that we as parents are sitting around thinking about the next clever thing to say to our children.
Dear WholeDad: Three years ago my eldest son Michael, who was 16 years old at the time, asked my permission to go hiking in the Rockies with four friends for a week. Although the planned trip seemed very challenging for kids his age, I felt that he was mature enough to deal with the difficulties he might face. My confidence in him proved to be well founded. Last week my second son, Garth (who is now 16), informed me that he and his friends were planning a similar trip. Although Garth is a wonderful kid I feel very strongly that he is not ready at this stage for such a challenge. How can I tell him without his feeling that I think that he is inferior to his brother? A Before you take any action, you should be 100% sure that your fears about Garth's insufficiencies are founded on an objective assessment of his personality and not on a subjective need to over--protect him- - a feeling that did not exist with your older son.
MISLEADING TITLE! It doesn't have to be a battle. Here's the good news: It's possible to live in peace with your teen. You may wonder how I know that. Here are my credentials: 1. I am the father of three teenagers - two girls and a boy 2. I was once a teenager 3. As a psychologist who specializes in parent teen relations I have 25 years of experience listening to parents and teens complain, cry, scream and moan about their "impossible" adolescent/parents. I want to share with you my laundry list of thoughts, ideas and practical suggestions on how to relate to a teenager. At the end of this list you can add your own suggestions.
A Letter from Jenny, 16, to her Mother Dear Mom, You did something last night that hurt me very deeply. This letter is being written after a lot of thought, because it's not the first time I've been through this with you. I'd like you to think about the difference between the two words "hearing" and "listening." I Know You Can Hear Me But Are You Listening? Dear Jenny, As a child I remember the conversations I would have with my mother. She would hear me, but not really be listening. I used to say that when I grew up I would never be like that - I would always listen to my children. Continue . . . On more than one occasion I have found myself talking to you, but actually talking to myself.
My son is 15 years old. He was born with Down Syndrome. In the last 15 years I have amassed enough stories to fill volumes. However, right now I want to just stick to the topic of: Expectations. When Joshua was born the doctors advised us to not "waste our time, energy or money." They claimed that our son would never amount to anything.
Having "survived" teenage syndrome of two older children, I am now well into my 15-year-old daughter's phase. Of course, I should know better by this time -- and of course I don't! Knowing all the pitfalls, why do I feel so depressed and at an utter loss when she: * Leaves her room in a totally destructive state. * Screams at me for no apparent reason * Takes everybody's belongings without warning and fails to return them * Treats her younger sister badly and finally... * Totally ignores me at times, with a ruthlessness that only the young can achieve. So...help! Not for HER but for ME!! How should I feel? What should I do? A desperate Mum Jackie Goldman, MS, replies: A First of all, I want to reassure you that the way you feel is completely appropriate.
Dean, age 17, is having trouble with his family. He feels that they are stifling his freedom, and he wishes they would leave him alone.
It was almost as if a monster had moved in with us. Overnight, our sweet 14 year old daughter changed from a friendly, loving member of the family into a terrifying stranger. It was like living with Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. She refused to talk to us anymore, she dressed in torn rags that even a trashman wouldn't bother hauling to the dump and styled her hair into crazy designs. Everything we said to her was met with a slammed door, an angry sneer, and a turned up nose. I used to be able to talk with her easily, and we had always loved going shopping together and spending time with each other. We'd been good friends for years.
Remember those "Question Authority" buttons that were popular in the 1960's? Some baby boomer parents take an ideological stand against any role distinctions that are "given" rather than earned. After fighting against oppressive power structures in their young adulthood, they are reluctant to demand honor and respect from their children simply because of their status as parents. For other parents, their own childhood experience of "not having been heard" leads them to be cautious about being less than perfectly attuned and deeply respectful of their children's feelings and needs. Yet, paradoxically, parents who listen terribly hard all the time and strive for equality and fairness in everything SOMETIMES find themselves with demanding, greedy, anxious children.
It was 10:40 on a school night, the end of the last shift of the day, which had seemed more difficult than usual: homework and bath time had been laborious and fraught with resistance, bedtime was now forty five minutes late. And so I cannot tell you why I and my sons, Ariel, 11 and Ben, nine, were all in Ben's bed when I opened The Secret Garden and began reading aloud. One of my early fantasies of motherhood had been to share this childhood favorite with my own children. But now it was 2000 and I had two boys who were competent though not avid readers, well entrenched in the popular cultures of television and computers. They are boys who spend most of their days playing sports or running around with other boys.
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