When There Are Problems
To diffuse difficult situations and improve your relationship with your child, talk about some of the times when you messed up. By becoming human and being honest with your kids they’ll be able to relate to you. Amazingly, many children think that their parents are perfect, and they can never live up to them. Be honest with your children about the mistakes you’ve made and your children will become more tolerant of themselves.
104. Seek help for your child when there are problems. Don’t sweep them under the rug. Teach kids to talk about the things that aren’t working in their lives.
105. Apologize to children when you make a mistake.
106. Help children see past their disabilities and weaknesses.
Understand What’s Normal
The two main psychological tasks of adolescence are developing a sense of identity (“Who am I?”) and a sense of independence (“Can I make some of my own decisions?”). Independence often rears its head in the form of rebelliousness and/or questioning the authority and values of the parents. Many parents don’t understand this behavior as normal and become critical of the teenager’s attitude. When a normal adolescent child pulls away, it’s done for developmental reasons, not for rejection.
107. Understand normal development (e.g., the terrible twos, independence and identity in teens).
108. When a teenager pulls away from you, pursue him or her with kindness not anger.
109. Don’t tell an 18 year old what to do. They are likely to do the opposite. Suggest alternatives, listen, help with options. Be careful with your words. They’re likely to be how I was and say something like “I’m 18, I can do whatever I want.”
To learn more about the stepping stones of normal development, read Chapter 4 of my book, New Skills For Frazzled Parents – The Instruction Manual That Should Have Come With Your Child.
Learn All You Can
Parenting a child is one of the most important responsibilities any of us ever undertake. Yet, it does not require any special training or prior experience. Taking parenting classes and seeking out new ways to improve your parenting skills may change your child’s life, and for that matter, the lives of your grandchildren and their children.
110. Effective parenting is a learned skill. Work to learn all you can.
Part 10 – Next Week:
- Brain Interventions
Adapted from New Skills For Frazzled Parents – The Instruction Manual That Should Have Come With Your Child, Daniel G. Amen, M.D. Purchase from the MindWorks store.