Is that a familiar sound in your home?
Gosh I hope not...
but if it is, I can tell you now is the time to work on it.
Because it won't be long and the door might just shut for the last time.
We invest in our kid's academics by taking them to tutoring or enrolling them in college test prep courses. We invest in our kid's athletic ability by putting them on elite teams, buying top of the line sporting equipment, providing them with private lessons. We invest in our kid's social status by giving them the latest electronics, name brand clothing, and making sure they have the "right" backpack.
Doing all the right things as a parent (according to the cultural messages we constantly receive) doesn't mean you are the partner your son or daughter needs as they grow up.
Adolescence is a confusing time, remember?
Body changes, emotional ups and downs, social pressures, life choices...all of these things require an empathetic partner to listen/support/encourage/guide.
That should be YOU.
Maybe you've tried everything you can think of...you've done what your parents did when you were growing up, OR you have been doing the opposite of that because what your parents did really did not work for you and you don't want to inflict that on your kid.
Your child's behavior during this critical time in their life is actually your parenting report card.
So, how are you doing mom and dad?
If the door is slamming, or your child is hibernating, or you can't get more than a one word answer from him or her, OR ALL OF THIS, OR MORE, OR WORSE IS HAPPENING...and this has been going on for a while, something different needs to happen.
But WHAT? [You say with frustration, anxiety, and skepticism.]
Invest some time, energy and money into your parenting.
This wouldn't mean you've failed, hell no! It would mean you are PROACTIVELY asking yourself to become accountable for your part in the parent/child relationship!
That's all you can do, right? Control YOU and your response to the words and actions your teen is sending.
Maybe doors aren't slamming at your house, maybe it's just that you wish you had better rapport with your teen and you know time is running out before they will be gone to college or whatever their next step is going to be. It's never too late to invest in the relationship you have with your kids.
But it starts with you, and an investment in yourself for the health of your family.
What goes on (or doesn't go on) between family members gets taken into the school, into the community, into the world at large.
Don't settle for a miserable home life because you don't know how to connect with your son or daughter. Don't let any more time go by kidding yourself that "it's just a phase, I did the same thing when I was a teenager". Don't worry about what anyone else is doing, or how their kids are behaving, or whether or not they would judge you for getting some help creating a stronger, more functional family life.
Nothing else is more important than the relationships under your roof, yes?
Your tween/teen/young adult child's behavior is telling you where you, as a parent, need to grow.
Find the courage to take a step toward being the parent your kiddo needs you to be. Will it be easy...NO...but, when you've got a better, healthier, deeper connection with your child you will know the work was worth it!
Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's talk about what's going on with your son or daughter and what you can do to change the situation.
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