11 Important Lessons - Part 1

Sep 25, 2014

 

11 IMPORTANT LESSONS WE HAVE LEARNED FROM WORKING WITH
AT-RISK TEENAGERS

Darcia and Diane, with Embark Counseling have years of experience working with families whose children are out of control.  

We believe these 11 Lessons can be helpful to ALL parents. This is Part 1.

blue and green hands curling around each other.jpg1 - RULES WITHOUT RELATIONSHIP EQUALS REBELLION

If you and your teenager aren’t experiencing positive, warm times together, it’s going to be hard for him or her to accept that rules are in their best interests.  Playfulness and humor, small gestures that please your child and sharing an interest with your child all make it a lot easier for a teenager to hear and understand the rules of your household.  

1411542492_button_ok.png2 - TRUST, BUT VERIFY 
Those words were first spoken Ronald Reagan about the Soviet Union’s disarmament program, and it works for parents.  It’s a bit of a paradox.  Extend trust to your teenager. Just be sure you verify the information they are giving you.  If they say they are going to Susy’s house to study, give them permission to go because you trust them.  But you might give a call to Susy’s mom just to make sure she is home and Susy got there safely.   
 

pink shirt thinking a thought.jpg3 - TEEN AGERS ARE LIKE LAWYERS LOOKING FOR THE LOOPHOLE

You may remember looking for those loopholes in the rules when you were a teenager.  “You said I couldn’t drive to the concert but you didn’t say I couldn’t go to the concert with Johnny.”  Be clear about your rules and expectations.  Try to imagine your teenager reviewing the contract for any loopholes just as a lawyer would. 

 

two larger and two smaller people standing separately in black circles.jpg4 -  PEERS ARE POWERFUL – KNOW WHO THEY ARE

It’s not just a cliché.  Peers are about the most powerful influence on the planet.  Know your child’s friends.  Know who they spend time with in the real and virtual world.  Help them fill their time with activities that expose them to other positive peers.  

 

100% 5 - CONSEQUENCES NEED TO BE 100% ENFORCEABLE

If a consequence for violating a rule is too much work for you to enforce it is basically no consequence at all.  Only consequences you can easily control will be delivered effectively. For instance, if you are not home to be sure your child who has lost television privileges isn’t sitting in front of the TV all afternoon, what good is it as a consequence?  It is necessary to deliver consequences consistently. 

 

overlapping white and blue faces on light blue circle background.jpg6 - YOU GET MORE OF WHAT YOU PAY ATTENTION TO 

 

Kids can be rude, inappropriate, annoying and provocative.  But as adults we can control how we respond to this reality.  If we engage in criticizing and arguing every time our child says something that drives us crazy, it’s possible our child will do it routinely.  Your child is getting your attention.  They are getting a reaction.  Some planned ignoring can be powerful, especially when paired with focusing on the behaviors we like to see from our child.  “Wow I love it when you are ready for school on time.”  “You took the trash out without complaining at all.  I appreciate that so much. You are such a great kid.”  Think of what your child does that you wish to see more of and then focus like a laser beam on that.





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Darcia DeSalvo

Darcia is a Partner with Embark Counseling Get in touch with her at darcia@embarkcounseling.net


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