Parenting can be frustrating, especially when all parents choose for their child or teenagers' happiness and success. It is important to understand that your child or teenager does not wake up in the morning and ask, “How can I upset my parents today?” In fact, they wish for acceptance for who they are, and, for parents, this can be difficult. Somehow, we have expectations of who we think our children should be, and as a teenager especially, they are exploring their independence and there are definitely things they do not ever want you to know about! Gosh, don't you remember what it was like to be a teenager?
Teenagers feel fear that if they do tell you the truth, you will be mad at them or not like them anymore. Is there a benefit for your teenager if they do tell you the truth? Or do you just want the truth so you can be involved and can control what they do? After a lifetime of the fear based punishment of threats, any kind of yelling, time-outs or spankings will cause exactly that in your child or teenager, fear. Yelling at or engaging in a power struggle with your teenager will cause confusion because they do not even know what you are saying to them most of the time. I mean literally, they do not know what you are saying, they do not know the meaning of the words, and they don't know how to ask you for help. So, in the end, your teenager ends up feeling stupid and they clam up.
A great way to overcome this communication issue with your teenager, and that is all this is, is to accept them for who they are as an individual and begin to use a different language with them. First off, never ever chastise your teenager or make them feel bad about what they wear, how they do their hair, and what they choose to do in their free time. Forget outdated punishment techniques that work, at best, for a very short period of time. Begin to lovingly guide their behavior. You do this by asking questions instead of dictating to them. Nobody likes being told what to do…even here, I am merely suggesting that you do this. I am not telling you what to do! I am telling you what I have seen work.
Ask them questions like, “When you go out tonight, will you be home at 10:30, 11:00 or by 12:00?” Or “What is it you like best about hanging out with Timmy?” When you ask them point blank questions that are non-intrusive and non-judgmental, your teenager will open up to you and tell you the truth. When they are expected to do their chores and/or homework before they go out, question and quantify to make sure they understand exactly what you just said. You will ask, “Ben, I would love for you to go and have fun at your party tonight. What is it you said you would do before you go out?” And your teenager will answer you, “I'm going to finish my laundry, put it all away, and sweep out the garage.” When this is practiced every day, you will create a beautiful relationship and friendship with your teenager.