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    Living With A Stranger-Your Teenager

    By Penny S. Harmon     

    Almost every parent asks themselves, ďWhat happened to my kid?Ē the minute their child turns into a teenager. All of a sudden, a parent is faced with a confrontational, moody, disrespectful, arrogant person who cares about nothing. Not even themselves. Communication becomes difficult and they no longer wish to share their daily lives with their parents. What is a parent to do?

    Generally, once your child hits the teen years, itís a normal thing for them to change their appearance, what they listen to for music, and perhaps, even friends. When a teen makes these changes, they are simply trying on new shoes, so to speak. They are trying to figure out who they are and what they really do like. A parent should not be concerned about these changes, as long as they continue to do well in school and are respectful of other adults, such as teachers.

    While a parentís feelings can be hurt by these changes in their child, itís important to know that this is all part of growing up. However, with these changes, comes confusion and a parentís job is to simply be there for their child when needed. A parent should open the lines of communication by making it possible. One way to do this is to keep your teen involved with the family. This may require you to make changes within your home, such as placing one television in the family room (not allowing your teen his or her own television in their room), encouraging your teen to become more involved with the family.

    To increase the lines of communication with the teen, a parent should make the opportunities available. For example, schedule a dinner for one-on-one time with your teen. The best thing to do is to go out to dinner, therefore, curbing your teenís instinct to run back to their room as soon as dinner is over. Waiting for your meal to arrive will allow you time to talk and more importantly, listen to your child.

    If you are the type of parent who has a hard time talking to your child, there are things you can do to help yourself communicate. First of all, ask your child about what they like or donít like. Leave out the critique, though. They donít want to hear your opinion. They simply expect you to listen and not judge.

    Let your child know you love them and when they do something good, reward their behavior. Letís face it. A lot of parents do not trust their teen because they know what trouble can be gotten into by teenagers. However, if your teen shows responsible behavior, give them a little bit more responsibility. Donít throw away all of your instincts, though. Make sure you know where you teen is going and what they will be doing. Just give them a little room.

    As hard as it is for parents to realize their teen is growing into an adult, the hardest thing is living with them while theyíre getting there. While moodiness, irritability, indifference, and hermit-like behavior can all be normal, they can also be signs of something more. Keep watch of your teen and if the behaviors are completely out-of-control, such as poor grades, lack of respect for adults, or not attending school, you might want to seek the advice of a professional. In the meantime, if your child is simply finding out who they are by testing the waters, keep your chin up. You will survive your teen growing into adulthood. Just remember that even if your teen doesnít seem to care whether they talk to or not, you are their rock and will count on you to help them if they need it.

    Written by Penny S. HarmonRate this article:

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