Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Make Up My Mind!

Make Up My Mind! is what I overheard someone say to their mom not too long ago! It cracked me up. You see there are times in the lives of our students where they feel that no matter what they are deciding to do their parents will trump that decision with their own. The problem with this issue is that the parents have to be careful to not train their child to be indecisive.

Think of this way, don't you hate it if you have a boss that seems to little your little infractions go at work and then one day you do the same thing, yet again, and this time your boss just seems to go off!? It's like you know that the best thing you can do is to stay close to your boss so that they will not go off on you. You learn to disengage when they are not involved in your work life and embrace them if you see fun stuff coming your way.

How does that translate into parenting? Stay with me as I build this up for you a bit but it's true! You see "parents teach their children primarily through experiences, even more than through teaching and talking. That is we will parent from our own level of maturity."

Too many times we see parents that will choose not to engage their child for some bad, not terrible behavior, but something that the parent just doesn't want to address at that time. However, later the parent is ready for the fight and when the student messes up and you blow up at them. We tend to save up, save up, pressure up and then Zap, we blow up at our kids.

Here's the issue with this parenting style, we teach them them in the long run that love and limits don't go together. Let's face it all of us from time to time will ignore things but we can't let them build up!

So how do you overcome this style and parenting issue:
  • Identify that this is what you do and get someone else, maybe a Youth Minister, or other friend, parent to help you through this.
  • Tell your teen upfront that part of the problem is you and you take ownership of your part with them. You will get tons of points with this and it opens up the dialogue between you two.
  • Get other adults in the life of your teen. Your teen can and needs to experience mature people who can take your teens attitudes, stay connected with them, and enforce the values that you as a parent do. This is a way to say you are right and others agree with you as they live out their lives as well.
  • Write out the rule and establish accountability. Write down the expectations, go over them, have your student sign off on them and it protects you and them. You can't build up and Zap because everyone is on the same page, so to speak.
  • Give your teen connection and consistency. (2 of my favorite things) Connect with your teen because believe it or not they really do want to connect with you as their parent. Consistency is huge! Even in our being upset and anger they need to know they are still loved.
This issue of consistency is so important because the teen needs someone in their lives who is strong enough be there for them no matter what. When teens don't experience connection and consistency, they can't develop a sense of self-control and responsibility. It also lessens their ability to develop and to accept the good and the bad aspects, or lifestyles of others. What they cannot accept in themselves, they are often are not able to accept in others.

It goes without saying, but I am saying it anyway, that parents what you do is important in the life of your teen. You see you have to be a part of their lives. Gone are the times or thoughts that all you have to do is to get them to age 18 and they are out of the house. You have to get into their lives and move toward the destination of maturity. You have to help them learn that you are there for them and love them when they say, Make Up My Mind!

BWT 47-53

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