You Can Deal Successfully With the Stress of Ongoing Disagreements With Your Teen by Following This Mom’s Example!
Are you and your teen having an ongoing battle – with you wanting them to change their behavior, but they just keep doing it their way?
Are you butting heads with your teen over some issue and neither of you is budging one inch?
This post and the accompanying video offer a way through these kinds of conflict – the strategy this Mom used is simple but profoundly effective. Listen to Amrit’s story and find out how you can apply her solution to your own disagreement with your teen.
It Is SO Stressful For a Parent To Feel Out of Control About Their Teenager’s Wellbeing or Health
The big disagreement that Amrit had had with her daughter when she was a teenager was about not getting enough sleep. Neither of them was getting enough sleep because this teenaged girl was determined to get really good grades in every single subject and her staying up until the wee hours of the morning playing music in the next room left her and her Mom consistently sleep-deprived.
Amrit was very upset about this chronic problem and tried everything she could think of to get her daughter to go to sleep earlier, but nothing worked. The whole situation was a big source of stress for this mom until she finally came up with a solution – starting with her self.
You Can Always Have Control Over You and Your Own Choices
This video illustrates a really critical distinction – that when a child’s behavior is out of your control you still have control over how it affects you. This great parent found a way to restore harmony between she and her teen by changing the way her teen’s behavior affected her.
The truth is when our children reach high school, we don’t have very much control over their behavior. Once we graciously accept that, we have a much better chance to at least have some positive influence. We are no longer a manager of their lives…they have to learn to manage themselves, sometimes with messy consequences.
Change What You Can And Let The Rest of It Go
This mom eventually realized that her teenager’s bedtime was out of her control (unless she was willing to get into a big power struggle over it, which she wasn’t.)
Knowing that she wasn’t managing to influence her daughter’s sleep habits, Amrit focused on improving her own situation instead. In this case, she decided that her best option was to move the location of her room so at least she wasn’t kept awake with the music her daughter played while studying.
Pressuring Teens Rarely Works – Try Taking Care of Yourself Instead
Amrit’s daughter had a deep-seated need to do her homework as excellently as possible. Therefore her mother’s solution to take care of her self avoided putting more pressure or any kind of blame on her daughter, which was the best this mom could do to respect her daughter’s choices.
This strategy of mutual respect, chosen out of necessity more than anything, gave her daughter and herself the space for this ongoing disagreement to disappear over time. As the teenager matured and learned how to study efficiently it became a non-issue.
Choose Your Battles – Seek to Empower Better Life Skills Rather Than Control
It is important for us as parents to choose our battles, meaning that sometimes it will go better if we can just allow some not-so-healthy things to happen, trusting that our kids will grow out of many of their “bad” teenage habits, such as trying to function with very little sleep.
Kids learn many life skills on their own, sooner or later. We can’t force them to go faster or learn more of them just to make us more comfortable. They will go at their own speed, following their own path. Sometimes you just have to trust that you have been a good parent thus far and that is the foundation they are standing on in order to grow up even further.
Respect The Teen’s Process of Becoming Their Own Person
Teenagers are going to do what they are going to do anyway, regardless of your wishes. It is their job at this stage in their life to figure things out for themselves and become a separate individual from you. They can’t help it; in order to mature they must go through this stage called “individuation.”
If you respect them and their choices as much as you can, you have a much better chance at still having a mutually beneficial relationship with them and being able to continue contributing to them as a source of empowerment, rather than as a manager.
Sometimes the most self-respecting and other-respecting action to take is to remove yourself from the struggle or conflict. That is Amrit’s lesson to us about mutual respect.
It’s Hard to Be the Parent Of a Teen So Get Yourself Some Support!
We have found that it is really helpful for the parents of teens to have somebody who can hear their worries, upsets, fears and disappointments and THEN they can get back to respecting their kid’s needs.
We have been the sounding board for a lot of parents. Talking to someone else helps parents to sort out their feelings and discover what is really, really important to them so that they can go back to their kids and come up with some workable agreements that will make both parent and teen happy. Call us if we can do that for you.
If you liked this post then you should check out Lila’s video titled “Turning A Resentful Teen Toward Mutual Respect & Trust” and Melissa’s video on “How to Parent Teens”.
By Dr. Lonnie Green, M.Ed., PhD