Parenting teenagers….. observations

by Rod Smith

Note to self, of course):

• He or she who escalates has already lost, be it the parent or teenager. Ramping up the stakes, intensifying emotions, blitzing ultimatums, and offering irrational choices, all suggest it’s time for outside help. The one doing the ramping (parent or teen) will probably be who will have to apologize.

• The parent or teen who magnifies or exaggerates observations, conflicts, or issues (“the sky is falling”) is probably the one who’ll be sizzled as things escalate. Inner turmoil perplexes judgement. Calmness, objectivity, and dialogue, win over dramatic displays. He or she who steps aside to calm down usually prevails, be it adult or child.

• The parent or teen with the ability to compartmentalize will find it to be a life-saver (because it helps day-to-day functioning). He or she who habitually compartmentalizes is probably in denial. Losing sight of the “big picture” can be helpful in the moment but is seldom helpful in the long term.

• The parent who seeks to teach or preach under all circumstances may be better served by brick-wall-head-knocking. The parent who asks “what can I learn” and “what will increase my capacity to love” will be transformed by parenting. This requires the humility to acknowledge that some growth may be required on all fronts, not just the child’s.

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