Or maybe you had that shy 5 year old, who clung to your leg and didn't want to go into the school, or to the play date or the birthday party, and now as a 13 year old seems overwhelmed with the expectations of the 8th grade social strata.
See, they aren't really so different. What your teen brings to the table in terms of temperament and personality is biological, sorry,you can't change that. But you can be aware of it, and help your teen to see what their natural inclinations might be to keep them safe during this time in their life when their world is so inviting and exciting. So if you have that risk-taking 4 year old all grown up now, it's important to have this kind of conversation; "You know honey, when you were little, you used to make me crazy with worry because you were always the kid who wanted to climb the highest tree, or ride your bike down the steepest hill, you were an excitement junkie. I loved how confident and fearless you were about things, always wanting to try something new. And I love that about you now, but because this is the essence of you, now as a teenager, you will also want to drive the fastest, party the hardest, take the biggest risks, and that worries me. We just need to make sure that you are safe, knowing that won't come naturally to you." Or if you have that verbal kid who has the skills of the slickest lawyer on TV, your job is to avoid getting into a verbal volleyball match. You won't win! Or maybe you have that shy teen who has friends he wants to party with, and ends up going because he want to fit it. This shy 5 yr old grown up may be especially vulnerable to drinking or drugs because after the first experience with a few beers they feel the confidence and comfort in a group that they never felt before. That is a seductive feeling. So you need to say to this teen, "I know being in groups has always been hard for you, and now you have friends, which makes me so happy, and they want you to hang and go to parties where I know there is going to be alcohol and drugs. I worry that because those situations initially are hard for you, your friends might encourage you to drink to "loosen up" and that you might become dependent on alcohol or drugs to have fun in these situations.
Embrace the person your teen is and is becoming. Recognize the strengths in their personality and temperament, and give them the tools to manage them. Your legs won't be there to hold on to, and you won't always be waiting at the bottom of the slide. They need the confidence and know-how to do it "all by myself".
PS. I am booking my seminars for the spring. Invite me to your school, company, organization or community group and I promise to give 2 hrs of humor, tips and tools to help in raising a teen in the 21st century!
Joani's Top Ten Parenting Tips
The secret to parenting is to keep it simple. Learn 10 simple, concrete practical tips useful in those daily moments of stress as a parent when you wish you had the "right thing to do and the right thing to say!
Audience: All ages
Adolescent Psychology: The Parent Version
· Understand teen stressors and anxieties
· Learn how the brain affects your teen’s behavior. It’s the battle of the thinking brain VS the feeling brain.
- Learn Effective strategies for arguing-The Four Ways Of Fighting.
- Develop effective strategies for keeping your teen safe as they explore the new world of teen life.
- Learn how to teen-proof your home and cell-proof your teen
Sexting. Texting and Social Networking: What’s A Parent To Do?
· Understand how the “emotional brain” of a child gets “turned on” by social networking.
- Understand how the “Imaginary Audience” influences your child’s performing on social media.
- Learn which apps are safe and unsafe
- Learn strategies to monitor and set limits around phone and internet use
- Learn how your own behavior with phones and computers can positively and negatively influence your teen.
- Understand the addiction of gaming
Audience: parents of 4th graders through High school
Drugs and Alcohol: How Does Your Teen’s Personality Style, and Your Parenting Style impact their experimentation with drugs and alcohol?
- Identify your teen’s personality style and risk-factors with drugs and alcohol
- Identify your parenting style and how it influences your teen’s drug and alcohol use
- Learn effective strategies and scripts to keep your teen safe
- Understand the emotional journey of your college bound high school student
- Understand the emotional journey of a parent of college bound high school student
- Learn strategies for making this process successful and positive
With over 40 years of experience working with families, Joani's approach, using humor, storytelling and easy to use tools make the job of parenting just a little bit easier.
Joani Geltman MSW 781-910-1770 firstname.lastname@example.org