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
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
Your child is special and unique and should be taught accordingly. We all face the struggle of trying to get our children to memorize their facts and do their homework. We spend so much time searching for a better answer. I like the method of using a child's interests to enhance learning. While I can't guarantee you that my answer is the only answer, I can guarantee you that it's at least worth a try. Your child will definitely have fun and probably learn some things along the way.
So, what is this secret method? Well, it may not be a secret, but sometimes we don't think about it. What I suggest doing is keying in on your child's interests to form your lesson plans. This can work for homeschool or just plain studying. First, you should make a list of the top ten things your child enjoys the most. Next, using this list, think of ways you can use these interests to help your child learn. Here's an example of a miniature plan for a child named Johnny.
Find your child's key interests and use them to teach him lessons. Johnny enjoys swimming, playing basketball, video games, visiting the park, climbing trees, and many other outdoor activities. Johnny is struggling in multiplication and division. He also hates to read. His mom decides to take him to the park and play a game of basketball with him. During basketball, she asks him "If I can make 3 baskets in 5 minutes, how many baskets can I make in fifteen minutes?" Well, Johnny is confused, so his mom says, "All you have to do is see how many 5s it takes to make fifteen by skip counting first." Johnny's answer is 3, so his mom then says "So, if I make 3 baskets 3 times, what does that give me. You can count by 3s." When Johnny answers "9", his mother is very happy.
Keep up the rhythm to enhance learning skills. In Johnny's case, his mom continues to play games like this with him, being sure to show him visually what she is talking about. For reading, Johnny's mom purchases a few different computer games that enhance reading and comprehension games because Johnny likes video games. Since he likes games with action, she makes sure that all the games have plenty of that. The video games are played at least 3 times per week. She also makes sure that Johnny has fun practice for both subjects every day. Sometimes the games she makes up are the same and sometimes they're not.
Keep it fun and consistent. As you can see, Johnny's mom has begun to draw on her son's interests to get him more interested in learning. It's just as simple for you to do the same. Your games can be simple or complex. Gear the complexity around you and your child. Don't make learning seem like a chore. Make it fun and your child will view it as such. During homework time, play little games with the homework problems. Just be creative at all times, always drawing on your child's interests. When your child starts to get excited wondering what you will do each day, instead of groaning about the homework, that's when you know you've made a real difference.
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The Upstream Parenting method will help you learn how to connect with your children, raise them to be independent thinkers, and how to gently guide them to succeed on their self-chosen path. Upstream Parenting is a proven child and growth-focused method that has been put to use with all six of my children, as well as with countless kids I've nannied over the years.
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