Sunday, May 19, 2013

TEEN TRENDS: GO AHEAD...TALK TO YOUR TEENAGER!



I hadn't realized that it has been almost a month since I last posted, but...what can I say?  Since my mother passed away, I haven't been excited about doing anything.  I did graduate on April 27...finally!!  I also have a job as a special education teacher starting August 1.
 
I decided to bring one of my older posts to the front line, because it is so important that parents talk to their teens (and I mean more than just a couple of minutes of asking "how was school today?")  If you still have little ones at home, I give tips on starting to talk to your child early. 
 
I promise I will start to work on other articles to post real soon :)


Talking with your teenager is one of the most important things you can do as a parent.  But, the thought of talking to their teen about sex, drugs, etc. sends some parents into hiding, leaving their teen to figure out these life situations on their own, which means they will more than likely look for answers elsewhere.  But, I'm here to tell you that you can talk to your teen about these issues, plus many more, and survive.

IMPORTANT TOPICS:
  • Cigarettes
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Premarital sex
  • Abstinence
  • Safe sex
  • Pregnancy
  • STD's
  • Cheating
  • Bullying
  • Racism/discrimination
  • Dating violence
TIPS:

- Start talking to your child when they are young.
       I started talking to my girls when they were around 3 or 4. I first started talking
       about cigarettes, because they are everywhere - TV, movies, out in public (age
       appropriate talk of course).  As they got older, I started talking about alcohol and
       then drugs.  The older they got, the more I talked.  (Of course, if you didn't start
       talking  to your teen when he/she was young, it is still never too late to start.)
- *"It's better...too much, too soon than too little, too late."
- If you start talking to your child about these issues when they are young, when they become
       teenagers and have questions, it will be second nature for them to come to you.
- Start talking (and demonstrating) to your child about your values, so they grow up knowing
       what you believe and what you expect.
- Ask questions.
       I know "who, what, when, where, why, and for how long" before my girls walk out the
       door.  (Hollie turned 20 in January, and I still ask her these questions.)
- Don't have one big talk, but have lots of small talks...while driving in the car, eating dinner,
       when you're out shopping. If you look for opportunities to talk to your teen, you'll find
       them.  Just be there. Your teen wants your guidance (even though they may not come
       right out and ask for it).  I even have little talks with my daughter's friends, because, it's
       sad to say, but their parents don't talk to them and they have questions.
- One of the most important things to remember is that no matter what you teen tells you or
       how bad the situation is, you cannot yell, cuss or freak out or your teen won't come
       to you again.  Hollie would usually come to me when I was watching a Lifetime Movie,
       and she would say, "momma, I did something I wasn't suppose to do", and I'd be
       thinking "Oh God".  I never knew what she was going to tell me.  Or she would write
       me a letter after I went to bed and leave it on my bathroom counter for me to see
       when I got up.  When I would see that piece of paper on my counter, I would first
       say a little prayer.  Now, April (who is 14) has started leaving me notes on my
       bathroom counter.  (But she is usually apologizing for being sassy.)  Hollie talks to
       her all the time about these teen issues, which has been very helpful.
- It is usually best to wait until the next day to talk to your teen about the situation,
       especially if it's bad.  This gives you time to calm down and think about what needs
       to be done.  Just calmly tell your teen, "we'll talk about this tomorrow", and always
       tell your teen that you love him/her no matter how upset you are.
- As I've said in an earlier post, when talking to your teen, that old saying "do as I say
       and not as I do" won't work.  Believe it or not, you are your teen's biggest role
       model.
- But, if you are talking to your teen, and he/she asks if you ever smoked pot, etc. and
       you did, don't lie and say you didn't.  Your teen needs you to be honest with them, and
       your smoking pot is not going to make your teen want to go out and do it.  Explain the
       negative effects it had on you, and explain why your teen shouldn't smoke, etc.  Just
       don't lie.
- According to About.com, "because I said so" actually works when you are being pulled
       into a power struggle in a discipline situation.  You are the parent, and you have the
       final word.  But it is best if you explain your reasoning whenever possible.
- And please, be careful how you talk to your teen. Don't try to hurt or humiliate your teen.
       Hollie's dad thought calling her "fat" would make her want to lose weight or calling her
       "stupid" would make her want to study more. Talking to your teen like this will destroy
       him/her.  Hollie has had so many problems because of this abuse.  (See my post on
       Emotional Abuse.)  And as my mother always told me, "if you can't say anything nice,
       don't say anything at all".  Just walk away.
- During these conversations with your teen, be prepared for your teen to laugh  at you or
       think you're lame.  That's okay.  My girls laugh at me all the time (not in a
       disrespectful way), but the language has changed so much over the years. 
- *Look for clues that your teen needs to talk.  He/she will give hints, without coming right
       out and saying, "let's talk".
      
THINGS TO NEVER SAY TO YOUR TEEN:
  • "You're too young to understand."
  • "If you say that again, I'll...."
  • "I don't care what your friends are doing."
  • "Don't come to me if you mess up."
Of course, a big part of talking to your teen is knowing how to listen.

TIPS ON LISTENING:

- Stop what you are doing and give your full attention. 
- Look at your teen while talking.
- Don't judge, just listen.
- Sometimes all your teen needs is for you to listen.
Always make sure that your teen knows that  you will love him/her no matter what they do and that they can come to you at any time.

And again, please remember I am no expert.  These are just things I did as my girls were growing up, and while I'm sure they don't tell me everything, they know they can talk to me about anything.  But I must admit, sometimes they tell me things I really did not want to know.








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*www.aish.com
*www.parentingteens.suite101.com

39 comments:

Jamie said...

Great advice - I sooo want to skip these years I feel so out of my league........

Elly said...

I applaud you for encouraging parents to talk to their kids (“It's better...too much, too soon than too little, too late.”). It’s so true! Too many parents think that talking to their kids will give them ideas or something. I made good choices growing up because my mom talked to me about the touch issues. Like you, she started talking about these things when I was really young. By the time I was faced with stuff like cigarettes, sex, etc. I was able to make smart, informed choices. Being informed probably saved me a LOT of pain and regret!

I also like that you stress that parents should avoid freaking out and yelling. Teens really don’t respond well to that!!

Also love your point about honesty. My mom was always very honest about the shady parts of her past and I respected her so much for that. It also gave me more reason to not do those things that she did and regretted.

I have always hated the “because I said so” argument. I am a preschool teacher and I actually caught myself saying that to a child today. I instantly hated myself but I couldn’t come up with anything better in that moment. Sometimes that’s just all there is, I guess.

So many other good points. Great advice for anyone with a teen!!

BLOGitse said...

Great post!
Adults should respect their children and to be and behave like adults.
But not to forget to play and have fun with kids.
There's never too much conversation with kids. Conversation. Not just parent(s) talking.
Kids should never be afraid to tell the truth....

BLOGitse

SITS Girls said...

Came across your post in roll call and the title immediately got my attention. I just love what you wrote here. Such an important message for parents everywhere.

I uploaded a link to your post on our FB fan page. Hope it brings a few more clicks your way. :)

http://www.facebook.com/SITSGirls

-Francesca

Shanda said...

I love this! I have a 12 year old daughter and a 9 year old...so I'm preparing myself for the coming years. I'm also a single mom and am in school. I love finding other single mom bloggers!

Oh, by the way, I'm here by way of SITS facebook page.

Wahzat Gayle said...

This is so good my daughter is only 7 but I feel the need to start gathering up all the advice that I can I suspect we are both in for a ride!

Passing through via SITSGirls have a great week

sotheywillalwaysremember said...

I so agree with you! I have a teenage daughter, and another coming up right behind her and I think communication is the key. My parents never talked to me about anything and I didn't end up doing anything too bad, I was just so incredibly naive. I am glad I found your blog and plan on stopping by often!
Thanks, fellow SITS girl,
Nina

beloved Mama said...

following you from bloggy moms and so glad i found you! I have a soon to be 13 year old and your info is exactly what i need!
http://belovedmama.blogspot.com
http://twitter.com/belovedmama

Judy said...

Great advice. My girls are grown up now, but we had very open communication. I also let them know, I hope, that when they slipped, I would still be there. It was a delicate balance of them not wanting to disappoint me and me making sure they knew my love was unconditional.

so kikay said...

I’m your newest follower =) happy friday


http://sokikay.blogspot.com/2010/07/fun-fun-fun_16.html

A Moms Rantings said...

awesome advice. For some reason, raising my first son was so much easier (in talking to him about this stuff). We had a much closer relationship. (he's my first child) he's now moved out and I Have a second son, 15 that i'm finding it more difficult to raise the subjects.. I do it though. And I agree with what you've said completely. It's sad that many parents take the stance of "ignore it, it'll go away". I don't know if I could even imagine doing that.

Jackie H. said...

Hi, I'm here from bloggy moms! I used to teach 4th/5th graders and was shocked at how much they had to deal w/ at such a young age. I think often parents don't address things until it's too late. Now, I'm the parent and it's really hard. You want to protect them and keep them innocent yet prepare them at the same time. Hope to find good resources here!

Giveaways for Mom said...

I'm your newest follower from Friendly Friday! Stop by & visit me at www.giveawaysformom.com :)

chubskulit said...

Thanks for this useful tips, I will be needing this with my two tots.

I'm a new follower from Friendly Friday. Please feel free to come visit me and follow one of my blogs below. Thank you.
Obstacles & Glories
Nostalgic Marveling
Spice Up Your Life
Etcetera Etcetera

LLL with Leslie said...

Hi. I am your newest follower from Friendly Friday.Please follow me back. Have a great weekend!

Leslie
www.livelovelaughwithleslie.com

Erin Wallace said...

This is great advice - I talk frankly with my teen all the time and I believe it's the thing that has kept her out of trouble.

Here for Friday Follows and following you now. Hope to see you at Dropped Stitches!

xo Erin
droppedstitches72.blogspot.com

Popcorn Served Daily said...

Hi,
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I have a teenager so this will be a great fit. I am now a follower.

Have a great weekend.

Lisa

litanyofbritt said...

My kids aren't teens yet, but they think they are! Thanks for the tips.

LakeMom said...

Great post. I got one through the teen years and have two more getting ready to enter them! It's a tough time for kids & parents! Following from Friendly Friday.
LakeMom
www.survivingmotherhoodwithhumor.com

Lydia's Pennies said...

Following you back from FF.

Lydia

☼¨`*•.♥RocĂ­o♥.•*¨`☼ said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! I have 3 kiddos under 10 and this is very good advice! I am glad I came a cross your blog today!!
Have a fabulous Saturday!! =)

Sandra said...

I'm following you from Veronica's group at Bloggy Mom's.
http://www.absolutelynarcissism.blogspot.com

Wow, there's alot of important info in that post...made me feel twinges of guilt...gulp...I haven't said "Don't come to me if you mess up," but i have said, "Don't come running to me if you break your leg!"

Melissa B. said...

I concur wholeheartedly! As a high school teacher, I can tell you that talking is so much more important than turning away. SITS sent me by, and I'm glad they did...

Two Peas in a Pod?

Emma @ Divorced Before 30 said...

These are some great tips. I'm a pretty open person, so I hope my kids will be, too! Thanks for visiting my blogoir on my SITS day last week!

Kat from California said...

I had to check out your blog because I loved Ziggy as a teenager and had a mini cork board with Ziggy on it. My cousin told me I was like Ziggy (still not sure what that meant). lol

My daughter is 12 and will be 13 in November. Her dad has a hard time relating to her and often sees kids that age as the enemy. He loves her but I honestly think he forgot what it was like to be young.

The other day she caught him reading a book called "how to talk to a teen" and she said why doesnt he just talk to me? When he does talk to her he gets angry at everything and says this and that is inappropriate.

Since I've been talking to her from day one and been open about almost everything she and her friends come to me to ask questions. Believe me that can be an embarrasing situation to be in, but I'm glad they can talk to me as long as they stay respectful. I let them know when they cross that line.

Great advice, about talking to a teen. Thanks for sharing.

Katharine of Kat's Almost Purrfect World http://katspurrfectboutique.blogspot.com

Ramblings of a Woman said...

Hey! Great information. As the mother of 3 young adults and one older teen, I learned this more and more with each child. Another thing I allowed my kids to do, if someone is pressing them to do something, go somewhere or something they don't really want to do or feel uncomfortable with, but may have a hard time standing up and saying No, they can make me the bad guy. They can say "you know my mom, she ain't gonna let me go" or "yea, I asked if I could spend the night but she said No". Really enjoying your blog!

Jiltaroo said...

This is a terrific blog. I just wrote about my own experience with boyfriend violence. One of my readers asked my advice to help his daughters avoid this ugly and dangerous situation. I gave him my advice but also added links to a couple of sites and as well as your blog. I especially love that you have written about how to talk to your teens...so important! Knowledge is power and empowering.

CrazyNutsMom said...

Great tips and advice for conversations with my kids.

Thank you for the information.

Christy Garrett said...

Laura these are all great tips and ways to talk to your teenager. It is very important that you are there for them to talk to if they do mess up. Remember that they are human and they will mess up at some point in their life. Instead, use the mess up as a learning opportunity.

arirjames said...

Excellent post. The advice is priceless. I certainly remember way before I became a teenager, my mother made it a point to keep the lines of communication open, and I do believe that it's something parents neglect. Parents get busy or feel as if talking about something makes it an automatic curiosity? But no - talking and communicating and constant dialogue are desperately needed these days.

Columba Lisa said...

Thanks for a helpful post! I have two kids who are easy to bring up hard issues with, and one who is quiet and stuffs everything. I find it's harder to parent the quiet one, even though he's less trouble. It takes time to sit down and draw him out, but it always pays off. My middle child wears his heart on his sleeve - very easy to discuss the big issues with.

Dawn Marcotte said...

I wanted to send you my sympathies for losing your mother. That is such a hard part of life. I know I was a mess for a long time after my mother passed away, but you will get through.

I also wanted to thank you for reposting this article. I agree it is so important to communicate with our teens. There are so many 'bad' influences out there and as a parent sometimes it feels like I am battling uphill just to get their attention.

God Bless

Czjai Reyes-Ocampo said...

Thanks for sharing these tips. They will be very helpful to me someday.

Becky Jane said...

There is always an empty spot in our hearts when our mother passes away. HUGS for you and your family. Congrats on graduation and getting a job.

Pepper Tan said...

Hey congrats on your graduation :)

My daughter's only 7, but yes I've started talking to her about social issues. We watch the news together, and she asks a lot of questions.

Right, we should learn to listen to our kids too. Listening is a skill much harder than talking, but we parents must learn to master that art. It will benefit our kids in the long run.

Jamie Clark said...

I have nominated you and your blog the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Hope you accept! This is one of the easier awards to pass on. Thank you for being an awesome blogger and i just love reading your blog!
http://beingpositivewithadepressivesoul.blogspot.com/2013/05/you-are-not-going-to-believe-this-but.html

Courtney G said...

Congrats on graduating, but I'm sorry to hear about your mother.

This is an excellent post, and it works. Talking and listening is a must, even when you feel like your teens are from another planet, you have to engage them as much as possible.

Kimberly said...

Great tips!

Nice to meet you through #SITSBlogging!

Kimberly @ Rhubarb and Honey (http://rhubarbandhoney.com/)

Krista R said...

My mom always talked to my sister and I about any and everything. Even stuff that I now realize was probably awkward. I am so thankful she did though because I've done the same with my son who is almost 16 and he knows he can talk to me about anything. Thank you for encouraging parents to talk to their teenagers, they really need somebody to listen and care!

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