Monday, April 11, 2011

A Few Parenting Do's and Don'ts

Do not buy your teen an Iphone, Itouch, Blackberry, Droid or any other Smartphone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am begging you here. I can't tell you the number of calls I get from parents who have given their teen this kind of phone, then get mad at their teen for misusing it. I will say this loud and clear. IT IS YOUR FAULT. Temptation is the mantra of adolescence. If they had self-control, if they were not impulsive, if they knew when enough was enough, if they weren't so easily distracted and able to keep their attention on something for longer than 3 minutes, then they would be an adult!!. They do not have the capacity to set limits on themselves especially with a device that does everything for them except make their bed. A parent told me a story the other day that she had an argument with her daughter just before school. To get back at her mother the daughter accessed her facebook account through her blackberry while she was at school to block her mother from reading her wall. Mother had been given the password with the daughter's permission after writing posts with sexual content on her wall that had been reported to the mom. Mom had also noticed that her daughter and her friends who also had smartphones were facebooking all day long at school. This does not in any way enhance the school experience, and gives them one more thing to get their attention away from the concentration needed for the task at hand....learning!

Do not text your teen during the school day except for carpool/pickup/appointment changes.
One of the major tasks of adolescence is to teach your teen to delay gratification. The id (the gimme take me show me part of their brain) is in the highest activation of their life. The want what they want, and they want it now. I have heard so many stories of parents who get into texting wars while their kids are in school when the teen wants an immediate answer for something that actually needs and demands a face to face conversation. Teens have got to learn that just because everything else in their life is designed to provide instant gratification, that you are not a device that provides that service. Let your teen know that you will no longer be "conversing with them at school," where by the way cellphones are usually prohibited from being in use. Unless the text has a 911 in front of it, meaning there is an emergency message you need to read, you will not read and respond to text messages between the hours of 8-2. If there is a change in arrangement for after school you will text during their lunch time. Parents you are responsible for modeling appropriate use of cellphones. We are raising a generation that thinks access to personal conversation whenever whereever is a right. Just ask my college students who I have to constantly remind to put their phones away during class so they can actually learn something!!

Do take care of yourself when your kids are being disrespective and abusive to you.
I was so proud of this mom who told me this story. Her teen daughters had asked her for permission to go to a concert on a Sunday night so far from their community that they were going to need to stay in a hotel room because it would be to late to drive home. These are 9th graders by the way. The mom said no, thank god. Amazingly there were other parents that had said yes. This was a concert that attracts a crowd not safe for young girls on their own, not to mention they would miss school the next day. This decision was a no-brainer. Unfortunately the teen girls didn't think so, and the morning after the fight decided that the payback to the mom was not just being angry and disappointed, but to be extremely disrespectful and mean to her. The mom, who usually drives her teens to school every morning to be nice, since there is also a very convenient bus, put her foot down. She calmly said, since you guys are treating me this way, I guess you'll have to find your own way to school this morning. I don't do nice things for people who treat me badly. Yea for this mom. The girls were shocked. Stammering and studdering,"how are we supposed to get to school?" "I guess you'll have to take a cab."the mother calmly responded. " To which the teens said, "and pay for it ourselves?" to which the mother replied "yup" and walked away. A+++ for this mom.  You do not have to be a victim of your teen's tantrums. You also do not need to tantrum back in return. I think these girls will think twice before they treat their mom this way again...when they need something from her at least. But as in everything in life, practice makes perfect.

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