LOVE AT HOME
A child's parents are their world. It's in the family unit that kids learn about life before they experience it on their own. For parents, that's a heavy burden to bear. No child comes with an instruction manual, so when a child needs specialized emotional help parents should feel no shame in looking to a professional for guidance.
As kids grow up, they begin to put what they've learned to the test. Teenagers explore their individuality, which often manifests itself as rebellion from their parents who they heavily relied on for so long. Again, a professional can help bridge the gap between parent and teen.
Parent and Teen
Parenting teens is rough. It's a hormonal time when carefree kids learn their independence and start to prepare for adulthood. I know; my four children were all teenagers at the same time at ages 19,17,15,13. Yes, all are biologically mine. Yes, all from the same father and raised together from birth. Yes, I am still alive to tell about it.
They are all adults now and it feels so good to be able to say that. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into those terrific kids I had the privilege of raising. We had our ups and downs, but we made it through. So, as a seasoned parent and a therapist, I will share some helpful tips for parenting teenagers. Come see me if you want a
Elaine Shepherdson, LMHC, CCTP, CFTP
4 PILLARS OF RAISING A TEEN
Teens are striving for independence, so micro-managing will surely lead to an explosion. Setting safe, clear guidelines gives teens the freedom to choose their path without getting lost or steering into dangerous territory. Boundaries create a stable foundation from which teens can launch their successful adult lives.
The awkward, confusing, hormonal time of adolescence calls for tons of reassurance and expressions of love. There's no better way to reassure a teen than for a parent to show confidence in their ability to accomplish what's expected of them. In other words, setting realistic expectations will give your teen a benchmark of what they're really capable of achieving.
Teens hate being told what to do, but they still need our help. Talk them through their options and the consequences of those choices, then leave the decision to your teen. Let them experience a few minor disappointments of poor choices without bailing them out too quickly. They will learn to own their choices, both good and bad.
Remember that a teenager’s brain is still developing. Adult logic isn't quite there yet. Even the smartest of them will say dumb things. Let it “roll off your back”. They won’t mean it later. So, if they threaten to run away with the circus, don’t get pulled into that argument by explaining why it's a bad idea. Smile and let them know you will miss them.
Children's Play Therapy
Children communicate differently than teens and adults. Their smaller vocabulary limits their ability to verbally express themselves.
However, children are very good at playing creatively. That's why we have a room in our office dedicated to play. Using little toy people and various play sets, kids can act out their realities and explore solutions to the complex problems they may face.
This role playing gives children struggling with trauma, their parents' divorce, or other challenges a unique voice to his or her therapist. The therapist can then respond to the child's needs through the same channel of communication that the child can understand.