How To Be A Good Parent To A Teenager

Hi! welcome to hero TV. I’m doctor Paul Jenkins. Today, we’re talking about parenting and specifically parenting with teens which can be kind of a challenge sometimes. I’m going to share a few short tips with you in this video that will help you to be a good parent to your teenager. Parenting. That’s one of the greatest challenges probably in the entire history of the planet. And, there are some challenges that sometimes come up as we’re parenting especially with teens. I think before we get into the real content of this video, I really want to establish the importance of our job as parents. Now, when I ask parents here in my office, what is your job? I get some really great answers like, it’s my job to teach them, correct principles, it’s my job to steer them, or guide them, in a way that they can become productive citizens. Or to have healthy happy fulfilling lives. All great answers. I think they can all be summarized into this one concept and we’ll come back to this. Your job, as a parent, is to love them. No matter what, and even if. Now, sometimes we have to play the little game, the even if game. So, will I love my kids even if they flunk out of school? Okay that one’s pretty easy.

Will I love them even if they disobey me? You’ve tried that. Okay. Will I love them even if they break the law? They’re arrested. They’re incarcerated. They, they, hurt or injure each other. They get strung out on drugs. they go to rehab. ask all the questions and get really solid on that. Your job is to love them no matter what and even if. now we get deceived sometimes as parents thinking our job is to make sure that they, something. Now if you’ve already got teenagers, and you probably do if you found this video. That probably means that you’ve already encountered this, can you, can you make sure that they anything? Can you make sure that they pass their classes? can you make sure that they’re respectful? can you make sure that they obey? no. I don’t think that that’s even possible. so let’s get it out of our mind that our job is to make sure that they anything. And get right back to our job is to love them know matter what and even if. If you’ll stay attached to that particular job I can share with you some ideas that I think are going to be really helpful so keep that in mind as we get into this. Now, whenever we’re talking about parenting whether it’s teens or younger kids I like to start with this graph where we will plot control on this side against maturity down here.

Now, control means control over your own life. Control those from zero to a hundred percent so
you can have all the control and none of the controller somewhere in between. Now, maturity gets kind of fun to talk about. Typically, when we’re talking about maturity we’re talking about how grown-up you are so if we start this graph down here with birth think about it how much control do you have over your own life at birth? right. Hardly any. You can make a big noise and big stink but that’s about it. So, as you increase in maturity let’s put adult over here at this end. Although, we all know adults who aren’t very mature we’ll come back to that in just a minute. As an adult, how much control do you have over your own life? Now, if I were to ask your teenager that, what would they say? All the control. See, they’ve got this perception that adults have all of the control. So, let’s go with what they say for now. Now as adults, you and I know that there’s some small print but we’re not talking about that right now.

So between birth and adulthood, we have this line that goes like this. Now what this means is that you have more and more control the more and more mature you become in your life. That makes sense to you? so under the line is the part of the control you get for yourself. Over the line is the part of the control that others stay and there has to be a hundred percent control. Only question is, who’s going to take it? and there’s a lineup by the way let me throw that in real quick. The lineup for the control it goes first, self. That means you get first crack at the control this is true for your kids too no matter what their age is. Second in line is the parents. So if your kids are not in control of themselves it becomes your responsibility and it is in your control to take that control next. Who’s after parents? Some people say friends or society or the school or whatever. It’s the state. The state has the power and the authority to take control over you or over your children. Now, whether that’s right or wrong we’re not here to discuss but they’re third in line that’s why it is so important for kids to get in control of themselves and if they can’t do it I want parents to be next in line. Because, it’s awfully unfortunate when you have to defer that to the state. So, let’s go back to how maturity stacks up when we take age out of the equation. So
I’m erasing the birth and adult indicators here. And we instead are going to break this into three chunks or stages. I’m going to call these stages. Stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3. So let’s talk about what each of those stages looks like and then we’ll apply that to how we can become better parents for our teenagers. At stage 1, you’ll notice this is the least mature of the 3 stages the self doesn’t get very much control others take most of the control and for you as parents that’s very important.

In stage 1 this is characterized by being very immature so what do we mean when we say immature? Selfish. let’s use that word selfish and self-centred at stage 1 you’re fighting to get what you want. At stage 1 there are tantrums, and fits, and yelling, and screaming, and crying, and whining, you get the picture right? Notices we’re talking about the stages it’s about stage not age so anyone of any age could throw temper tantrum. We expected from a two-year-old not so much from our seventeen year old and when a when an older kid or a teenager is acting in this selfish fighting stage. We describe them as being immature. So you wouldn’t necessarily say that about two-year-old because it’s age typical and age appropriate but those temper tantrums become a real problem for these older kids. So the demanding, the whining, the nagging, all of that stuff on stage one. Okay now let’s move to stage two. When you move to stage two, you stop fighting and you start cooperating. I’m going to put cooperation in here. That stage two you don’t want any trouble you want to keep the peace so you will negotiate you will try to work for some kind of a win-win solution see stage two is really more of a compliant and cooperative kind of a stage and the cooperation is what delineates the difference between stage one and stage two. Now, for stage three. That is the most mature of all three stages this is where we would we would call this true responsibility. At stage three, you’re doing the right things for the right reasons in other words that I really like here is initiative. Where you see what needs to be done and you take care of it. So, a quick test to just see how this plays out in a in a family let’s say that you’re 13, 14, 15 year-old child is the one that we’re talking about and we approach that child and we say, “Nate, would you please take out the garbage” and Nate is a 15 year old of course, is going to answer. Trick question, it depends on what stage he’s on let’s say that he’s on stage 1 what would his answer be? “take up garbage?! why do I have to do that nobody else ever has to do anything around here why is it me! you know I’m just your slave isn’t it that’s dumb! I’m out of here!”. Okay, so it can get really colorful or stage one could be a little more subtle something like, “whatever” I don’t even know what that means for sure but he’s out the back door right? he’s not taking out the garbage. Do you see? you recognize it.

Stage one is where they will not cooperate, they’re selfish, they’re fighting you on everything. Okay, got it? now let’s bring Nate up to stage two. “Would you please take out the garbage?” now at stage two Nate response might still not be enthusiastic. It might be something like, “fine!” but then he does it. See, the key here is cooperation even if it’s not being thrilled about it stage two might be a little more on the pleasant side it could be something like, “okay, yeah ,sure” or he might try to work out some kind of an agreement with you something like, “well can I, yeah I’ll do it. But can I finish the show first? can I finish this game? I still need to save.” right? “save” I never quite understood that what are they gonna do I have to play it again sometime? anyway. stage two is the cooperation stage. okay, got it? Let’s move to stage three. “Nate would you please take out the garbage?” okay now on stage three of course he’s going to be happy to do it he will be cheerful he would comply and say yes I’d be happy to help but, an even better three stage three response, “Oh dad, I already took out the garbage but is there anything else I could do to help you out?” meanwhile, dad’s out cold on the floor right? kids of any age can do this but the stage three response includes initiative because you don’t even have to ask them they see what needs to be done and they do it.

I had a thirteen year old girl in my office not too long ago with her mom and they’re having some grand adventures and I wanted to see if she really got this and so I asked her how does mom know? She’s like, how’ she know what how does mom know That the dishes need to be done? how can she tell And, this 13 year old girl she rolled her eyes a little bit at me come “oh dr. Paul” She can see it. Oh really can you see it? and this is where it started to click in with her a little bit. okay I get it see can she can see that the dishes need to be done but she’s not taking enough maturity to actually step up and do that so when we understand the three stages then we can understand how we intervene or how we handle our teenagers we can’t expect them to be stage three if they’re showing us stage one behavior so real quick on what the parent’s job is at each
of these stages identify what it is and you can tell you can tell where your kids are for Stage one we apply consequences it’s the only thing that works on stage one stage one and it is driven by consequences because everything is external in terms of why they’re doing they’re moral reasoning it’s all based on what’s in it for me or am I going to get clobbered for this see, it’s very externalized so we use consequences at stage one we still use consequences at stage two but we also add communication give you three ‘c’ words okay consequences is the first one communication is next now we’ll still use consequences but there’s a different kind of consequences we use at stage two and it has to do with that, with the cooperation you’ll notice that some consequences require cooperation and others don’t if you’re on stage one you have to pick consequences that do not require cooperation because you don’t get it until stage two now you can have all kinds of new consequences at stage two there require cooperation that’s kind of fun and you add the communication piece now when you move to stage three when your child is on stage three here’s the last C word consultation this is where your kid comes to you your teenager knocks on your door says dad what what can I do about this you know he’s got some kind of problem or mom what do you think about this thing that I’m dealing with and you share your paternal wisdom with them and they very graciously thank you as they return home to their own five kids right well this can happen before they actually reach full maturity teenagers who figure this out find out very quickly that they get to have a whole lot more control in their life and you think about it if your teenager is showing you stage 3 behavior consistently you want to back off and give them as much control as possible over their own life and that sounds like kids pick up on this really quickly as well so to become a better parent to your teenager, number one your job is to love them no matter what and even if stay very clear about that and then in the context of love we determine what stage our kids are on in terms of their moral development and then we know what to do to respond either through consequences effective communication or simply consulting with them.

Well thanks for watching hero TV today. I bet after this video that you have a whole bunch of questions be sure to leave them in the comments below we love answering questions down there remember to live on purpose, make a difference, and be the hero!

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