Parents have a lot of fun and spend precious times with their children. The experience of playing and laughing with toddlers is priceless. To sit around, talk, and just “chill” with your teenagers (no matter how rare!) is also priceless. There is another part of parenting, though, that wears us down. This is our responsibility to discipline them and to keep them “in line” so that they will grow up to be healthy (emotionally and physically), happy, and productive adults.
One of the hardest part of disciplining older children (tweens and teens) is that they are EXPERTS to put us on the defensive so that we will “get of their backs” and let them do what they want! You ask for their help in the house and they immediately snap back that you are self centered and don’t think of them. You are upset with their friends, and they snap back that you do have a clear picture of who they are because YOU are upset and that YOU have an anger problem that clouds your mind. After these remarks we lose our balance and they continue to do things that you KNOW is not good for them.
The good news is that by keeping in mind a few simple thoughts you can keep your balance and be able to help your children truly grow to be healthy, happy, and productive adults.
* You are not black or white but rather you are grey. Teens exaggerate (especially when they are “under attack”). You don’t ONLY think of yourself and you are not TOTALLY angry. Probably you ALSO think about yourself and you SOMEWHAT angry. Not more than that. Don’t fall for their exaggerations, feel bad about yourself, and let them off the hook if you feel they are doing something wrong.
*There are more parts to you than the one fault that they mention. Even if you are (a little) self centered or have anger issues, it doesn’t mean that you don’t also care for them and that you can’t think logically.
*You don’t always make mistakes. Teenagers never forget when you made a mistake. You should remember that one mistake doesn’t mean that you were, are, and will always be wrong.
Don’t think that changing the way we look at ourselves is easy (although it is simple). It takes a lot of thinking until you finally internalize that you are not as bad as your children (in times of anger) say you are. One thing though is for sure; the more you work on the way that you look at yourself the happier and healthier your children will be in the long run. Isn’t it worth the work?