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Are You a “Lame” Parent?

by Lori Sciame | January 30th, 2012 | Teens

When a child makes the transition to teenager, many times parents seem to become “lame” in the teen’s eyes. What I mean is – a child who would always listen to a parent’s ideas, thoughts, and even jokes with rapt attention, many times will seem to shut the parent out once they enter the teen years.

But don’t despair if you are the parent of a newly minted teenager. Here’s why.

Maybe you noticed in the sentences I wrote above, I carefully selected the word “seem?” It just seems as if teens shut out parents; it seems as if they don’t listen to a parent’s opinions….get it? It’s all a façade, an act. Most teens still love and respect their parents. They still care what you think! In secret, they continue to like your jokes too.

In past posts, I’ve asked you to think back to your own youth. If you do this, you will understand the mind of your own teenager better. For example, when I was a teen, I vividly remember the struggle between wanting independence and fearing it at the same time. Learning to drive, taking college prep courses, and dating all provided me with ways to move towards the day I would have to leave my parents.

See? In many little ways, your own teen is working towards the day when he or she will fly the nest. They MUST learn to safely break away from you in order to become adults. By pretending that you are “lame,” and that you don’t know anything, they can assert independence in a safe manner.

This unique dynamic does present challenges, as it may SEEM as if your teen does not listen to you, but he or she does listen. That is why you still need to guide your child. According to WebMD, a parent must discuss important issues…”whether it’s drugs, driving, or premarital sex, your kids need to know the worst that could happen.”

Also, continue to share your day with your child, and wait patiently for him or her to share with you. It may not be right away, but your son or daughter will let you know what is going on, if you will just relax and give him or her a chance.

Another helpful piece of advice – refrain from embarrassing your child on purpose. Sometimes a parent with hurt feelings (from seemingly being left out of a child’s life) will do something silly just to make the teen mad. Actions such as kissing him or her in front of friends at school, or breaking into song at the dinner table when friends are present, will only backfire on you.

Take heart. The teen years do come to an end, and once on the “other side,” your child will return to the open person you once knew. Keep in mind that it’s not you causing a teen to seemingly withdraw; it’s a natural part of growing up…a necessary step on your child’s journey to adulthood.

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