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Manual TEEN TRUTH: Why Youth Have Something to Hide

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Ha ha! I have a lot of reading to do to get on top of this. I wanted to share that at three, I tried to have my son put his dishes in the dishwasher. He refused. It started to become a battle, so I dropped it. Instead, I encouraged him to help out in ways and times that he like to do so. He is 5 now, his preschool teacher says he is so helpful. And, much of the time when we request him to put his dish in the dishwasher, he does it. And he tells me that he did it and is so proud of helping me out. Things will change. Your son will grow up and begin to show amazing qualities, and even want to be helpful.

Hi Kate, I love your writing and it always gives me an area to consider for improvement as a parent. I have to tell you, although I see your points in this essay very much, it brought me down even further wondering — if I fail at RIE so many times, does that mean that my future could mean my daughter hates me in middle school, just like I did to my mom? Or, is that a normal developmental reaction to which I can help her weather the storm? I have to know — do you ever mess up?

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Ask them to go to their room? Anything that might not be considered RIE? Because, I have to tell you, I mess up a lot. Oh Shannon, I can only assume you are relatively new to my blog. I say this because for the first 18 months that I blogged I was in your exact same boat. I am not naturally a patient person and I am definitely not a patient mother. This is something I have had to work incredibly hard on for the past several years. I used the reasons I outline in this post and many others as my significant motivating factors.

You see, if I do not stay mindful and think of the long term consequences of my parenting choices, I so very easily slip back into older more punitive parenting practises. I am going to link to some of my earlier posts to highlight the ups and downs of my peaceful parenting pathway.

But We Were in Love

Please have a read of these and you are more than welcome to email me kate peacefulparentsconfidentkids. Thanks for your sweet reply. I have followed your blog for a while now my daughter is 3 and I think I found it shortly after her first birthday. It seems that you handle things well, but it is good to hear that you think you have blunders too. I am a confident person, but for some reason… mom confidence is very hard to build! All the best to you and I look forward to following your future posts as well. My greatest fear is not having a wonderful relationship with my children and them struggle.

Thanks for this well written article. Thank you … again! Why does punishment for bad behaviour, admonishment for poor behaviour, commendation for good behaviour, and praise and occasional reward, depending on the situation for wonderful behaviour have to be mutually inclusive with love-giving and communication?

To be fair, my wife gets the worst of this — their relationship has a different dynamic than mine, of course.

But hey, sometimes you gotta drop the hammer on a kid. One can easily make the argument that punishment for bad behaviour taking away toys or story reading at bedtime and praise for good behaviour teaches kids how the world actually works. Being irresponsible leads to bad results, being bad can cause you to lose your job or advancement or even get in trouble with the law; whereas being polite and responsible leads to improved interpersonal relations and a better chance of general life success while truly good behaviour in theory leads to a better life.

This obviously leads to dysfunctional adulthood. Bravo David! I heartily believe that the kind of parenting you advocate — where the parent can enforce both positive and negative consequences for behavior while still making their unconditional love clear — is possible. In fact, I would say that my upbringing was evidence of it. My mother did put me in time out and she did and still does praise my accomplishments, but what I always think of is the unconditional love she demonstrates.

I have also always felt comfortable talking to her about my issues. I think that the way she treated what I had to say with respect and was honest with me and trusted that I would be honest with her really encouraged those traits in me. On the other hand, some kids just have a different temperament from the get go and it may not be possible to use the same strategies for all of them. To refuse to steer your kid in the right direction as best you can is to abdicate an important part of your responsibility toward your child, IMO. There has to be a better way — gentler consequences, but still clear to a child whose reasoning and self-control abilities are still developing.

Hi Gaidig, Thank you. I loved your childhood story and am so happy for you that you were able to enjoy an open and honest relationship with your mother. She sounds like a wonderful lady! What makes a good path? Will they then always be looking to seek reassurance they are on the right path? I like your point about being a leader though. I agree it is important to be a strong, confident and capable leader for our children.

If they sense anything less than this they become uncomfortable and insecure and seek to test limits further. I should have been clearer in my article about my message about walking alongside.


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It is possible to be a leader as you walk alongside your child. A strong, loving arm around them will guide them in the right direction but they will have a clearer vision of what is in front of them. They will be able to make decisions, experience the consequences and choose paths based on what they have experienced.

All the while they have a strong, capable and loving arm ready to support them should they need. When a child chooses that incorrect path, a parent can be there to confidently steer them away from it. All the while, the child grows and matures and eventually learns for himself that he no longer wants to take that path.

He makes that decision for himself, not because he fears the punishment that will be dished up should he take it but because he believes it is not the right path to take. I hope that clears some things up for you. Hi David. Thank you for your thought- provoking comment.

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I think essentially we are on the same page. There are a few points you make that I have found unnecessary for achieving these goals. This method is the number one method the majority of parents turn to in attempt to bring up their children to have respect and learn right from wrong. The thing is, there are other methods that can be used to achieve the same results but do not serve to cause self worth issues in a child and helps to ensure children feel they can always tell their parents their mistakes in the future.

This makes the parent feel pressured to resort to punishments to change the behaviour quickly. When we calmly set and enforce limits as children grow, show understanding and acceptance of their emotions and feelings whilst their prefrontal cortex in their brains the emotional regulatory centre grows and the wiring connections establish so they can develop their own impulse and emotional control, we can still guide children to cope with the real world especially through natural consequences without severing vital connections between us and out children.

The use of natural and logical consequences help children make better choices not because they fear the parents reaction but rather because it is the better thing to do. Further to that, children learn behaviours and values by watching their parents. Seeing how they interact with others, hearing how they interact with them from birth. A child who feels respected and valued through subtle interaction from birth asking before picking up a newborn, talking to them when they are distressed instead of simply shushing them, speaking to them through caregiving activities etc will learn the way to treat others and be functional in society.

No one. An obedient child is an insecure and dependent adult. Then let them go ahead. Then find ways for them to understand that. Please edit my above post. Love is unconditional, and should always be. If a parent is angry, and is getting after their child, care for their well being should always be reflected in their words. Where do you suppose these methods stem from? Letting your child run amok, and approving of it all, is also a formula for confusion.

Nobody will ever do it the same, or perfectly. If you were to communicate selflessly with your child, in any scenario, that would be the best course of action. You as a parent need to prepare for the adversity of adolescence, and you need to stress how available you are, under any circumstances. Unconditional love is not conditional upon a certain brand of upbringing. Hi Desmond, Thank you for your comment. I do not advocate for letting children do whatever they please. This is a common misconception in peaceful parenting. Peaceful parenting is not permissive parenting. What I am saying and what I have aimed to teach through my blog posts, is that you can set limits, enforce limits and hold limits without using punishments.

I will look to make this point clearer in the post now. Thank you so much for this post. My little one is only three but I think about this kind of stuff often and really want to lay the foundation for a positive relationship in the teen years. I guess my question is, am I creating an approval based relationship by reinforcing positive behaviour? Hi Megan, Great question!! When your daughter does something helpful, the best thing to do is simply thank her.

Making a big deal of it is in essence, trying to manipulate her into doing something else that is helpful. But she will come to associate doing helpful things with getting her parents approval rather than just seeing it as part of her everyday life. The same can be said for when she does something kind. It sort of trivialises their inherent goodness. Keep your interactions respectful and authentic and trust in that innate goodness of your daughter to see her repeating these behaviours more consistently as she grows. She will see you being and doing these things and eventually that is what she will do.

I hope that makes sense. Keep up the wonderful work, Mama! Kate xx. Love this post. I also explain to the families I work with, that sometimes a teenager will be ready to talk, when you are rushing out, I say be late and listen. Thank you, Nathalie! Yes, I think teenagers sometimes choose those inopportune times to bring up hairy topics because it is hard for them to open up and they are sort of hoping their parents will rush out the door and let them off the hook. I LOVE this post more than words can tell!

I am similar to you. They come to me with ALL of their problems, big and small. They never lie and they know they can express their true emotions around us. Thank you for this post! Wow, thanks, Kate! This makes for complicated parenting, especially because teens are beginning to make decisions about things that that have real consequence, like school and friends and driving, not to speak of substance use and sex.

This means that having a healthy and trusting parent-child relationship during the teenage years is more important than ever. A request that seemed reasonable to dad may be received as a grievous outrage. If this sounds familiar, take a deep breath and remind yourself that your child is going through his terrible teens. It is a phase that will pass, and your job as parent is still vitally important, only the role may have changed slightly.

Here are some tips for navigating the new terrain:. Validate their feelings.

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It is often our tendency to try to solve problems for our kids, or downplay their disappointments. Show trust. Teens want to be taken seriously, especially by their parents. Look for ways to show that you trust your teen. Asking him for a favor shows that you rely on him. Volunteering a privilege shows that you think he can handle it. Letting your kid know you have faith in him will boost his confidence and make him more likely to rise to the occasion.

These leaders provided me with some shocking feedback every parent needs to hear. They also provided some critical advice for parents of teens regarding the timing and approach they should take into sexual conversations with teens. I asked each of them a few simple questions about their recent and real time experience with the sexual revelations of teens.

Let's be clear, these were informal interviews with front line teenage troops on the ground. That hard reality should move us on every level. First, it should move us to change our approach. Second, it should move us to seek out the best resources which bridge this communication gap. Lastly, but most importantly, it should move us to learn how to successfully open talk with our teenage sons and daughters preemptively and proactively.

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Start early. Regardless of age, the best way for a parent to build a healthy sexual foundation for their child is time, talk, and appropriate touch. All of these communicate love and worth and those children that have high time, high talk, and high touch from parents especially from fathers have a lower risk of premature sexual involvement. Loved children of all ages feel safe and that safety must be present for open communication about difficult topics. Talk openly. Teens and young adults love being treated like a grown-up and feel trusted when adult subjects are raised even though they are not "swimming in the deep end of the pool" just yet.

They love when a parent or mentor can tell them what they can expect to see or feel as they are approaching certain biological and social crossroads that can be both awkward and scary for them. When you tell them in advance and they see or experience exactly what you predicted, it makes you the trusted source for information. If they see, feel, or experience something sexually that you have never talked about with them, they are not sure if that topic is one they can put on the table with you.

In that case, most young adults will err to the conservative, not want to "freak you out" and keep quiet. Treat them maturely. When you want to interact with a teenager about the topic of sex know this—they hate being talked down to by a parent. The reason is obvious: it is because they feel like they are growing up!

Dads play an especially important role in this transition for teenagers by their confirming and affirming the transition to adulthood. Dads also provide a powerful blessing when they make it a man-to-man discussion with sons and call them up. With daughters, dads speak powerfully into the self-worth and love-ability of daughters by affirming the special and beautiful nature of young women that requires protecting them sexually. Parent intentionally in the sexual area. This means that there are planned grade level discussions, planned events, and planned statements or conversations about sexual development, practice, and expectations within your family and faith system.

Again, if they have already heard about things from you and expect what's coming, talking about it when the pressure or temptation comes will feel less awkward or shaming. I told my oldest before she went to her first high school dance two things before we dropped her off.