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 parents resort to yelling or shouting when their children do not listen. However, this may be damaging to your child in many ways. It can even affect the way your child behaves in school and what he thinks of himself. As a mother to many (with experience in nannying and babysitting), I have researched this topic extensively over the years.
Are You Healing or Hurting Your Child?
Parental actions can either be the cause of a child's negative reactions or the cause of their healing process. It is up to the parent to decide which is better for their child. Obviously, most would choose the latter.
What Are Some of The Negative Effects of Yelling?
Multiple studies have shown that yelling can cause many negative effects for children. Some of those effects are feelings of fear, feeling insecure, feeling unworthy, low self-esteem, misbehavior in school or other public places, disruptive behavior, immunity to any type of discipline that involves yelling or speaking loudly, and many more.
Is Your Child Worth The Struggle Not to Yell?
Children are a difficult crowd to please at times, especially those with behavioral issues or those used to getting their own way. But, it can be much easier if you are willing to go through a small period of struggle first. What have you got to lose? You are likely already struggling, so a short-lived struggle is much better than an everyday one.
First Steps in Ending Yelling As a Form of Discipline
The first thing you need to do is make the conscious decision that you will no longer yell or shout at your child. There is a difference between speaking with a firm tone and yelling or shouting. When you speak with a firm tone, you are simply flattening your voice and you have a serious look on your face. You will be just a touch louder than normal, but you will not be close to yelling. If you are downstairs and someone upstairs can hear you, you are too loud and you are yelling.
Organizing Your "No-Yelling" Plan
Once you have made the decision not to yell anymore, you need a plan. Write down all the possible misbehaviors that you think your child might partake in. It doesn't have to be too specific. For example, taking a Barbie from a sibling and taking a book from a sibling is essentially the same thing, so that category could be "Using Other People's Property Without Permission". Organize the list and be sure that you don't have items that could be contained into the same category.
After you have that list, rewrite it neatly on a separate piece of paper, leaving a few lines blank after each category. In those blank lines, write down what type of discipline could be used for each item. Some types of discipline will be repeated.
Putting The No-Yelling Discipline Plan Into Action
Think of a creative way to organize your list and frame it. Place it in an area that will be easy to access for the whole family. Whenever a child misbehaves, take him or her to the list and show him or her what the appropriate punishment is. Follow through every time. This means every time your child repeats an action that is not acceptable, take that child to chart and each time follow through with the corresponding punishment.
The adjustment may be hard at first, but over time, it will get easier for you as well as for your child.
Note: The author's positive parenting method has evolved into what she calls Upstream Parenting.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Whenever I venture outside, especially during the summer, I expect to hear objectifying comments from a few directions before I reach my destination. Sad, but nonetheless true. I don't like it but I generally shake it off, except one of those I heard today. It wasn't what was said but who it came from.
A young child , probably not more than eight (my own son is this age), was yelling comments at me like “D***, you're hot”, “Hey lady, come here”, and the obligatory whistle. Wow, really? Where did he pick that up from? He had to have heard it somewhere.
I don't want to immediately judge and say it came from the parents because it may not have. Perhaps he saw someone else do it. I don't know where this kid got the lesson on objectifying women in that way, but wow is that dangerous or what? It's also not the way a young child should be looking at a woman or even a girl (or boy).
First off, it's simply a disrespectful act and if he is already doing it this young, it could become a habit. But what terrified me more is that this kid could do that to the wrong person – a pedophile . And where were the parents? You tell me. Him and presumably his siblings or friends were outside an apartment building in a group with no adults around at all.
I did what should be done in response to that kind of behavior – and because adults shouldn't be speaking too much to kids they don't know. I ignored it. But not everyone would respond in that way.
I have no idea of where this little boy may have learned this behavior. However, it did prompt me to warn parents to watch what their kids are exposed to. Parents, please supervise your kids – and please don't teach them to objectify people. Teach them to respect them instead.
*I originally published this elsewhere (no longer published there).
Spanking does more harm than good. I know that I will upset some people with that statement. But due to my long-term experience with kids, there's no way I can come to any other conclusion. Not only am I parent to many, but I also have nannied and babysat many children.
We all want our kids to be respectful, upstanding citizens. But is spanking really the best way to do that?
While kids may listen to an order after being spanked, that doesn't mean this is the best method of discipline. Short-term effectiveness means nothing, as far as long-term lessons and damage. There are several reasons I've come to the same conclusions time and again. In fact, in all of my years of being around children, in every single case where spanking is used as a form of discipline, every one of the following reasons I won't spank comes into play.
Spanking can cause a dangerous fear.
In my observance of those who have been spanked, they listen only because they are afraid -- and only when they know someone is around that will deliver that form of punishment. The behavior is often repeated when the child no longer has a fear of receiving that punishment. This can cause the child to misbehave for others.
These children often fear not only the punishment, but the deliverer of said punishment. In many of these instances, if a child needs to confide in someone (even about dangerous issues like bullying), they often will not do so out of fear. This is very dangerous territory for a parent. A child cannot fear the person they should be able to come to for help and advice.
Spanking can cause misconceptions regarding hitting.
Another issue that is very common among spanked children is the resolution of problems through violence. Time and time again, I see children who are spanked hitting friends, siblings, and sometimes authority figures when things don't go the way they'd like.
By hitting a child as a means of solving a problem, you are teaching that child to hit other people if they don't do what they want them to. That is not the way to lead a productive citizenship among society. Imagine if your boss at work slapped you every time he/she wasn't happy with the way you handled something. Spanking your child is exactly the same thing.
Spanking can lead to bullying.
An extensive study found that kids who were spanked were twice as likely to participate in aggressive behaviors, such as bullying, fighting, and otherwise being mean to other kids. Children who were spanked by the age of three were highly likely to bully by the age of five.
This goes back to the previous point that when you teach a child they will be hit when they don't do what they are told, they learn that this is the way to treat others as well. You can't go around hitting everyone that doesn't do what you tell them.
Children are not robots.
Why do some parents feel that children are supposed to do each and every thing we order them to do? Some things make sense, especially when you are teaching safety and responsibility. However, as parents, we should be raising our children to think for themselves so that they know how when they go out on their own in the world.
They can't go out into the streets and just say yes to everything other people tell them. Also, everything will not be handled by others. They need to know how to do things for themselves and figure out how to make it.
Zero Spanking Does Not Mean Zero Discipline.
I wish I had a dollar for every time someone made statements implying that just because I don't spank my children, they wouldn't learn a lesson or be well-behaved. Many of these same people are dealing with kids who have been in trouble for fighting, bearing weapons, and other violent or destructive behavior.
Positive Parenting Does Not Mean Zero Discipline. Discipline should not be done to prove a point or come out of frustration. Appropriate disciplinary techniques should be unique to the specific situation and produce a positive and productive result.
Just because someone does not spank does not mean their children don't have consequences. In fact, children who aren't spanked but are given alternative consequences have always learned the lesson faster, in my experience. This is because when you give a child a consequence that is related to the situation, it causes them to actually think of the situation itself, rather than the punishment.
The above said, I am a firm believer that there is more than one way to parent a child and I don't look down on those who choose to use methods other than those I use with my own children.
It simply is nature that mistakes come with parenting. Part of being a good parent is learning from those mistakes, so the same ones don't happen over and over. It can come in handy to keep a written record of those mistakes that can easily be referenced if need be. As a seasoned parent, I have come up with many parenting ideas. Some have been successful and some have not. That's just par for the course. The Parenting Mistake Journal is one of my favorite ideas that I've had over the years and I'd love for other parents to be able to utilize this one as well.
When Should I Write In My Parenting Mistake Journal?
Anytime a parenting strategy does not have the expected results is a great time to use the parenting mistake journal. When doing so, remember also to write down ideas on why you feel the strategy may not have worked out, as well as how it may have been more successful.
Should I Share My Parenting Mistake Journal?
The answer to this question depends on the circumstance, as well as how comfortable you may feel doing so. In some instances, it can be good to admit to your kids that you've made a mistake, as well as let it be known how you intend to solve it. This can foster acceptance of mistakes in the kids, as well as the desire to resolve them. Sharing your parenting mistake journal can be a great way to open up discussion in some situations. As the parent, it is your responsibility to decide what is and is not a good situation in which to share your parenting mistake journal.
Will Some People Be Offended By My Parenting Mistake Journal?
It is possible that some may be offended by what you write in your parenting mistake journal. If you feel this is a possibility with your family, either keep your parenting mistake journal private or word it in such a way that will still allow you to learn and grow, but is more attentive to the feelings of others.
How Can I Make My Parenting Mistake Journal a Keepsake?
Some parents may choose to make a keepsake of their parenting mistake journal. When the children are grown, this can be a unique and interesting way to share parenting lessons and memories. It also could be great for grown children to use as a reference when they have their own ideas. There are scrapbooks that are designed in three-ring binder style, but can be beautifully decorated. These would make for a lovely parenting mistake journal that would double as a keepsake. Remember that decorations can be added later, after you have written the parenting mistake journal. Pages can be taken out of the original journal and placed in a new one for decoration. There are many ways to do this. Be creative.
LAST UPDATED 8/27/2022
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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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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