Positive Parenting: Why Doesn't My Teen Trust Me?
As a veteran parent, I often get asked questions about raising children. Teenage years seem to be the toughest for many parents. This is in part due to the fact that kids start becoming independent. One question people ask often is "Why doesn't my teen trust me?" Is the parent at fault when teenagers don't trust them? Is there a deeper reason or is this just a part of the transition into adulthood?
Does your teen have reason not to trust you? Take a look at how you interact with your teen. Do you break promises to him? Do you do more talking than listening? Perhaps your teen is afraid you will want him to do things just like you and his beliefs differ from yours. Examine your relationship to see what you can do to build upon trust. It is not always the parent's fault when this happens. There also may be a simpler explanation. But don't automatically assume the problem can't lie with you.
Your teen may simply be looking for a friend, not a parent. Let her trust in her friends rather than you when she needs to. It is not necessary for her to tell you everything about her life. While it is hard to realize that our children are growing up, we need to give them their own space. Just because she isn't trusting in you, does not mean you are a bad parent. She may simply need a close friend to lean on. This is perfectly healthy and normal.
Listen, but don't talk. Sometimes a teen just wants to vent. Don't analyze the situation. Just sit there and hear what she has to say. It can be difficult to listen without trying to solve the problem. But be confident in your parenting skills. Ask questions instead of providing solutions. Your teen can and should think for himself. This not only helps him learn to trust you, but also teaches invaluable problem-solving skills. You can offer advice later. But when your teen is opening up, it is best to be minimal with your words and let her express her concerns.
Discuss issues you faced as a teen. This is one of the most important things you can do for your child. While you may not think so, teens do listen to their parents. They may protest and say things like "It was different when you were a kid, Mom" or "You don't understand!" But trust me, they hear you. When difficult situations arise, they will think back to many of the things you have discussed over the years. Remember those days when your parents gave you advice? You may not have been too happy to hear it. But chances are, you have applied some or all of it over the years. Give your teen the chance to make her own decisions and learn from doing, just like you did.
Keep a parent to child journal. A journal where you each write notes to each other can help bring you closer together. When your teen is frustrated, it may be easier to write things out on paper than tell you to your face. You can write back after reading each note written to you. That way, your teen can read the responses when she is more comfortable. The journal can be used both for fun and lighthearted discussions, as well as more serious ones.
Some trust issues may be cause for deeper concern, such as bullying, mental health issues, and more. This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any conditions. Always seek appropriately licensed health care specialists for advice specific to your child.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Positive Parenting: Encouraging Educational Responsibility in Kids
Many times successes and failures in school can be traced to educational responsibility. Is your child in charge of his success – or failure when it comes to learning? If you find yourself helping too much or taking the blame for his achievements (or lack thereof), you may not be giving your child enough educational responsibility.
Provide access to a variety of study materials. When children have ready access to books and other educational materials, it's easier for them to become naturally in tune to learning. You don't have to spend large sums of money if you don't have it, but try to have things around that are helpful to their education. Manipulatives, educational videos, and hands-on science kits are great tools, in addition to books. Some libraries will loan out these items if you cannot afford to purchase them or would just prefer to be able to return them when finished.
Never do their work for them. When your child is seemingly having a nervous breakdown, it's easy for some to just give the answers. Do not do this. Instead, give your child some time to calm down and encourage him to try again. You can help for explanation purposes. But allow the child to complete the work on his own. Educational responsibility is easier to come by when it is a natural habit in the household.
Incorporate independent study. In addition to any homework, kids need to study things on their own as well. This could be additional information for what they are working on in required studies. But it may also be a free topic the child is interested in. Encourage your kids to learn new things, be it the history of a fad or more knowledge in required subjects. You may need to make the suggestion or first steps. But in time you will see your child start to automatically do this on his own. The desire for independent study is a good sign your child has some educational responsibility.
Allow room for mistakes. Remember that your child is not perfect. Remind him of this as well. Mistakes are okay. They give him a chance to learn and grow, and are a huge part of educational responsibility. When kids can recognize when they are wrong and need some extra work, this is a sign of responsibility. Let them discover those things within themselves.
Encourage your child's interests. When your child has an interest in something, encourage him by providing study materials for that subject. Take him on field trips or play games related to the interest. If your child wants to be a fireman, take him to a firehouse. If she wants to be a doctor, take a hospital tour and buy medical books at her comprehension level. Whatever your child is interested in, encourage (without forcing) him to learn more about it. Let your child tell you what he learns and also what he already knows as well.
Let them take responsibility for accomplishments and mistakes. When your child fails a test, do you blame yourself for not pushing him or do you point out to your child what he may have done to receive better results? The answer should be the latter, but many parents will take the blame for the mistakes of their kids, which can lead to them being irresponsible.
Do not force learning or use education as a punishment. Never say to your child things like “If you don't clean your room, I'm going to make you do algebra!” This teaches the child education is a bad thing. She is not going to be responsible when it comes to learning if her thoughts about it are negative. Always make learning a positive experience and offer it freely, rather than forcing the child to participate.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Building a Toddler's Self-Confidence Without Over-Inflating It
Toddlers don't have a care in the world, or at least it may seem that way to those of us who have bills and other big responsibilities. But just because your toddler does not have the same stress as you does not mean he or she isn't capable of feeling a little down. Building a toddler's self-esteem is all about patience, understanding and praise. But how do you build self-confidence without making your toddler think he or she is the best creation in the universe? As a veteran mother and former nanny, I've been down this road plenty of times.
Independence is key. This is always my No. 1 method of building self-confidence in toddlers. If they know they can do things for themselves, it helps them feel accomplished. As parents, it can be tempting to do everything for our kids. But remember that each task you do that they are capable of is keeping them from learning and growing. If you want to help, show them how to do it, and then just step back and let them do it. Toddlers can't very well be confident in their abilities if they aren't allowed freedom to practice them.
Redirect instead of scolding, when possible. If toddlers do something wrong, it should be made known. But there is no reason to scold or make them feel bad about it. Simply redirect them to a more appropriate activity. Make sure they know why they are being restricted from a certain action or activity, and praise them for transitioning nicely. Like other methods, this only works if you are consistent. Be sure to redirect your toddler each time he or she takes that specific action. Not being allowed to do it is punishment enough. Scolding can destroy their self-esteem and make them feel worthless. By redirecting, you are teaching the lesson but allowing your toddler to remain confident in his or her abilities.
Notice the good things and make it obvious. Don't just point out the bad behavior. When your toddler is behaving, let him or her know you are impressed. Building a toddler's self-esteem is essential, but you don't want to overdo it. Be careful not to do this for every single good behavior because this can lead to over-inflation of the ego. But pointing out the good things is important. Do it randomly, and make it genuine.
Track goals with a simple chart. When toddlers can visually see something they have achieved, it can be great for the ego. Make a chart of some of the things they are expected to do each day, such as brushing their teeth, reading a book, picking up their toys, making their bed, and more. Use stickers or magnets to mark what has been done each day. When toddlers look at what they have accomplished, their self-esteem will likely rise.
Allow them to make choices. Toddlers need to know they are trusted. This is an essential part of building self-esteem. When you're small, it seems like everyone can do things better than you can. Let your toddler make choices on a regular basis. These can be both big and small choices, but be sure they are things your toddler can handle. For instance, let your toddler choose his or her outfit in the morning. When shopping, give your toddler choices, even if that means his or her entire wardrobe turns out purple, like my daughter's. Building a toddler's self-esteem is all about choice and independence.
The advice in this article was written by an experienced parent, not a licensed mental health professional. Consult an appropriately licensed health professional if your child shows signs of depression or other health issues.
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The FLOW-Key Parenting Book provides tips from Lyn Lomasi's practical method for parents to help their children F.L.O.W. and thrive. Focus on issues with love, expression, and your child's self-mastery. At the same time, be an authority that prepares your child with lessons that equip them for the real world.
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