How to Handle a Teenager - Does Our Home Environment Matter?
By Colleen Langenfeld
One of the best things we can do as parents when learning how to handle teenager issues is to create a positive environment in our homes.
This does not mean a warm and fuzzy environment. It means creating an intentional culture of respect, responsibility and kindness within our home. To do so makes our home a safe and inviting place for our teen to grow and bring other teens, as well.
How to do this? Well, there are as many ways to grow a positive home as there are families, but here are a couple of proven guidelines you can use as you develop your own constructive environment.
- Watch out for technology.
Technology can be a wonderful thing. It brings convenience, fun and can streamline our workload.
It also brings depersonalization which means treating others as things instead of human beings like ourselves.
You can see this in all kinds of issues affecting teens growing up. How to handle teenagers who are rude, disrespectful and unkind? Start by removing and/or limiting a lot of their technology and replace it with genuine, heartwarming relationships.
* Cell phones. Mom or Dad, texting is NOT talking face to face and developing a relationship. It looks harmless and innocent, but watch out.
* Movies, TV and music. If it's trash, it's trash. Just because someone put it together and offers it to you for money does not mean it is worthwhile. Establish your own family boundaries concerning media and stick to it.
Don't be surprised if your kids act like the kids they see on TV and on movies. That is exactly how the human brain works. If you want a respectful environment in your home, then only allow respectful media choices in your home. Period.
Recognize the power of advertising in our culture. Believe me, the media understands how to handle a teenager - but not necessarily in the ways we as parents would like. Will having a certain brand name of anything really make your teenager a better person? Is that even possible? The answer, of course, is no. Your teen deserves to know how to accurately assess the cultural messages bombarding her each day.
* Computers. No one NEEDS social media or the internet. Teach your teens to use the internet, not be used by it. Discuss the pros and cons of being a highly connected, yet extraordinarily impersonal society. Ask them what kind of world they want to live in and then discuss concrete methods of getting there. That will help them develop a realistic view of the world.
- Be intentional at home.
What to say "yes" to at home is just as important as knowing what to say "no" to when discovering how to handle teenagers.
* Start a family night. Play board games, watch videos, cook dinner together, read about current events. Anything that stimulates conversation and good times. Include humor as much as possible (I haven't met a teen yet who doesn't love charades, especially if you include their friends,too).
* Clean up at home. It's amazing how easy it can be to maintain a beautiful home that's emotionally, mentally and spiritually vulgar.
You know what I mean. What is the language like in your home? Is there cussing? Do family members regularly disrespect one another? What is the level of kindness in your home? I'm not talking about being perfect (whatever that is), but teenagers learn to be respectful when it is modeled for them daily by the most important people in their lives.
* Spend time together. This certainly dovetails with having a regularly family night, but it's much more. Are you listening to your teen on a daily basis? Spending undivided time with your teenager and maybe with his friends, too? This is called simple relationship building and there is no substitute for it.
The truth, Mom or Dad, is your teenager WILL build relationships with someone. That's a fact. Who do you want influencing your child? It's totally up to you.
Establishing a positive environment in your homelife can go a longs ways towards understanding how to handle teenager issues. Teenagers are a lot like the rest of us. They long to be heard, to be loved and to be enjoyed.
Create a home where all your family members can say "home is where I want to be the most" and you'll find handling your teenager is a straightforward and rewarding job most of the time.
About the Author: Let Colleen Langenfeld help you enjoy your mothering more at http://www.paintedgold.com . Visit her website to get a free behavior log plus learn just one more thing about how to handle teenager challenges today.