Oft heard comment from teen parents –
“I have stopped saying anything – it falls on deaf ears any which way – why waste words! ”
“Maine to kuch kehna hee band hee kar diya hai – karni unko wahi hai jo unke man me aaye !!:
………and this is often followed by one loooooong sigh of helplessness!
I write this post to only tell you – You are not helpless – there is a lot you can do….. not with your child but with yourself.
Here I share another tenet of teen parenting which I have discovered after having made umpteen number of mistakes myself.
Your teen will not do what you want her to do – she will do what you expect her to do.
Let me explain…
You want your teen to return by 9 o’clock from the get together. He returns at 9 o’clock – you are ecstatic – the million parenting books you have read tell you about positive reinforcement so there you go! “Great! you are home on time! Very good. That’s being really responsible”
But stop there ! What are you communicating? Your response says this (not in words though). “I did not expect you would be back home on time. I am pleasantly surprised!” Now what’s wrong with that ? There are chances the kid will rationalize – my mum/dad did not expect me home – so its fine if I get a little late next time!
You walk into the room thinking she has slept and you would switch off the lights. You find her glued to the mobile screen checking on facebook.
You have a choice – Yell – switch off the lights – give one lecture (yet again) on the ills of wasting time on social media while the world is waiting to be conquered blah blah blah
You may (act surprised) and say “Hey – don’t tell me “you” are spending so much time on facebook.” Its late! You want me to switch off the lights?!
Now ask yourself in each of the choices that you make “What are you communicating about what you expect from your child?”
And then remind yourself – they do what you EXPECT not what you WANT!