Is there a "best way" to parent teens?
Yes! It starts with bioparents making three healthy
and all family adults wanting to study and practice the
together before a child is conceived (#1 above). If parents...
intentionally evolve and maintain a
adopt for the right reasons; and they...
genuinely enjoy parenting, and give it consistently high priority,
proactively work at nourishing their
primary relationship; and
help each other model and practice
effective communication with the child
(including limit-setting) as s/he grows; and parents...
can define specifically what their teen
needs to transit from child to young adult over several years; including
guiding teens through puberty; then...
should have manageable problems with - and
enjoy - their teens.
This implies that effective
parenting of adolescents starts in parental courtship, and continues
through a child's puberty and leaving home.
Many (most?) parents don't meet these requirements well enough, and have significant
problems with their teens. At the least, such parents need to...
accept that they are at least half
study and discuss
and help each other patiently
any they find;
learn how to
analyze and resolve
understand teens' special
developmental needs, and...
learn how to
communicate effectively with normal or troubled adolescents, and
teach them how to do that.
"Difficult teens" are usually
symptoms of two primary problems - wounded, unaware parents and a
low-nurturance family system. Trying to "fix" a troubled teen will
these core problems! For more perspective, see this.
Q11) Is there a "best way" for family adults to resolve serious
Yes. Disputes over child-raising can be specially emotional and
multi-layered, compared to other relationship conflicts. This is because of
confusion over parenting roles + values conflicts + disputes with relatives.
Family adults have the best chance
for lasting problem-resolution if they...
and are mutually respectful
despite their differences;
__ help each other study and practice the principles in
__ understand and agree on the age-dependent
needs of each child, and these
__ separate parenting problems from
and focus on one issue at a time; and if adults...
have evolved an effective strategy to
resolve any role and relationship problems, including
an effective way to spot and resolve these
three common stressors;
...they can probably resolve
most parenting (and other) conflicts. Do your family adults meet these
criteria? If not, what would have to happen to meet them?
Q12) What is "an
emotionally unavailable" parent?
Four essential traits of effective parents are...
each conception or adoption was wanted and
their behavior clearly shows that they
(usually) enjoy parenting,
they're able to
with each child, and...
they put spending considerable "quality
(undistracted) time" with each minor child ahead of most other
discretionary activities - specially during the early years.
From a child's view, when a caregiver lacks these
traits, the adult is
"unavailable." - i.e. the adult is not present to provide emotional
nurturance (love). Parents may provide food, clothing, shelter, education,
and medical care but not the consistent verbal and physical
affection, delight, and companionship a small child steadily needs to
develop a healthy self-esteem, self-image, and identity.
unintentional, unavailability is parental neglect.
Typical emotionally-unavailable parents came from
who got little healthy hugging, kissing, time, and genuine expressions of
care and love from their caregivers. Often, such wounded people are
unaware of this lack, or they deny and/or repress the agonizing shame, hurt,
and anger it caused them.
Such parents may be unable to empathize with their own child's need for
"availability" - or the parents' life circumstances (like working two jobs)
prevent them from being available. The label is far less important
than the deprivation's toxic effects on the young child.
Some unavailable parents hire other
caregivers (e.g. nannies, au pairs, babysitters, day-care staff) to provide what
they cannot. Others call on older kids and/or relatives to raise young kids.
Depending on the surrogate caregiver's personality and priorities, this may or may not fill
a young child's instinctual need for spontaneous affirmation, affection,
guidance, and loving companionship and protection.
Unless emotionally-unavailable parents accept and correct their
psychological injuries and ignorance early in a child's life,
passing on the toxic [wounds + unawareness]
to the next generation. In
the worst case, they blame the child for the effects of their parental
neglect. This nonprofit Web site is dedicated to preventing that.
Q13) What is parental
Some needy or anxious parents or grandparents are
excessively involved with their children's lives. They constantly need to
know what the child is doing, feeling, and thinking - even in adulthood.
This can cause frustration and hinder the growth of normal self-sufficiency
as the child matures. Such parents have trouble accepting and respecting a
as a separate person.
"Smothered" kids may rebel or become over-dependent on their parent,
distrusting their own judgment in making life decisions. Many factors
determine how a child reacts over time - including the actions of their
other parent and any active grandparents.
Smothering is usually a symptom of psychological
in the parent (e.g. excessive neediness and/or anxiety). It is also a
symptom that the family system is unbalanced. Smothering parents usually
justify, minimize, or deny their over-involvement and its effect on their
child. All these are forms of
This condition is similar to (or the
- relationship addiction.
A related toxic dynamic that may also exist is
This occurs between any two people who have vague or no personal boundaries
to define them as separate persons. Codependence and enmeshment may
complement each other, They both are symptoms of significant psychological
wounds unawareness, and family dysfunction.
One way of looking at smothering is that the parent has not been able to
accept the major change in her or his parental role as their child
approaches adult independence. They may have few other interests or
relationships, and be unclear on their
other than as a "parent."
Related conditions are
infantilizing (parents treating older kids
like toddlers), and treating adult offspring like young kids. The opposite
condition occurs also - "Whenever I'm with my Dad/Mom, I feel little.").
That usually signifies that an adult child is guided by a false self (e.g.
Q14) What if a young
adult doesn't want to leave home?
Four common reasons for this are...
the young person feels insecure about living
s/he is getting mixed signals from family
members (Leave now! / No, don't leave yet!), or...
s/he doesn't trust that a younger or
disabled sibling will be well cared for; and/or...
s/he fears that leaving will expose or cause
major problems between her or his parents, and
s/he feels responsible for preventing this.
first of these implies the young adult may be a
identifying and reducing psychological wounds is the real problem,
not "leaving home." The other three problems are family-system
dysfunctions, and may merit informed professional counseling for all family
members. In other words, the problem is probably with family adults, not
the young person.
more perspective, see this.
This article is part of a
parenting, which builds on five prior self-improvement
The article offers
brief answers to key questions that all parenting adults should
explore and discuss. These answers are meant to be thought-provokers and
discussion-starters, not absolutes.
Effective parenting is the second
most powerful way to
the lethal [wounds + unawareness]
way is parents
their true Self to guide them in all situations
For Q&A items relating to effective co-parenting in stepfamilies, go
Pause, breathe, and reflect
- why did you read this article? Did you get
what you needed? If not, what
you need? Who's
these questions - your
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