Help My Preteen/Teenager
is Driving Me Nuts!!!
By Kimberly Chastain , MS, LMFT
Do you feel like someone
has abducted your sweet, innocent child and replaced
them with a monster? Are you confused that somehow you
have gone from knowing everything as a parent, to knowing
absolutely nothing? Welcome to being a parent of a preteen/teenager.
It is a brave new world. Being a preteen/teenager is
difficult and being a parent of one is difficult as
well. In this article, I will address just a few of
the many “normal” aspects of adolescence
and how to survive as a parent.
I have been a therapist
for over 18 years now and have seen hundreds of adolescents.
If I had a dollar for every time a parent said to me,
“If I talked the way my kids talk to me when I
was a child I wouldn’t be able to get off the
floor.” I would be rich. Yes, talking back is
normal. I also quickly add not acceptable. Our society
through TV programs and in general does not show respect.
Most sitcoms delight in making the parents look like
idiots, gone are the days of the strong parents like
the Cosby family. So, our society does not show respect
and our children model that with us. Another normal
aspect of preteen/teenagers is to think their parents
know very little due to us growing up with dinosaurs
or at least without VCRS much less DVD players, anyway.
Most adolescents get all their information from their
peers, who unfortunately don’t always give good
advice. Acting like a “baby” one minute
and an “adult” the next is extremely common.
It is an extremely confusing time for them. Part of
them craves the security and the easiness of childhood
and another part “needs” the freedom and
independence of being adult (they often forget the responsibility
part). So, as a parent you are never really sure who
you are talking to at any given moment. Do I have the
“baby” who wants my support or am I talking
to the “adult” who wants to make his or
her own decisions? We often pick the wrong one.
So, what can a parent
due to survive? In my e-book, “Help My Preteen/Teenager
Is Driving Me Nuts!!!” I list several strategies.
Here are a few of those strategies.
1. When your child is
talking back. Do not engage in conversation with them
and certainly do not do something special for them,
like taking them to the mall.
2. Try not to give unsolicited advice. I’m not
saying quit parenting all together, but advice is often
listened to more when your child asks for it.
3. Make sure you spend
time listening to your children. Take any opportunity
even if it is at 11:00pm to listen when your child is
willing to talk.
4. Talk to the parents of your child’s friends
and have a curfew that everyone agrees on. There is
strength in numbers for parents as well. Then, you can
say not “everyone” gets to stay out later
than your child.
5. Talk to other parents
for support. Often, when our children are small we share
a lot with other parents. Sometimes, when our children
get to be teenagers we keep silent. It really helps
to know you are not the only parent having a difficult
In conclusion, it is tough
being a teenager and a parent of one, but everyone involved
can survive. Remember the favorite phrase, “This
too shall pass.” You didn’t think your children
would ever get out of diapers and now look, they are
teenagers. Teenagers still need you, so stay involved
in their lives. Learn about their friends and be willing
to listen at anytime. Also, remember some of their seemingly
strange quirks are really quite normal.
© 2005 Kimberly Chastain
About the Author
Kimberly Chastain, MS, LMFT is the Christian Working
Mom Coach and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
She was recently featured in the book the Myth of the
Perfect Mother. She is the author of “Help My
Preteen/Teenager is Driving Me Nuts!!!” To purchase
a copy of this e-book please visit www.kimberlychastain.com/parenting.
To schedule a free, initial coaching session send an
email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit http://www.christianworkingmom.com.
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