“Lots of times we can look at kids who've been in trouble and we can assume the worst, right? We can assume they were lying or being disrespectful or being whatever we believe, right. But really, sometimes if we dig deeper, and we understand how they were motivated in that moment, what was driving them in that moment, we might understand that they're valuing something like loyalty to a friend. On the surface, it may look like, sheer disrespect for an adult. But if we look at it from their viewpoint, sometimes they are holding a value. It's important for us to be able to decipher what's going on.” Dr. Lisa Bravo
If you’ve ever parent a teenager, you know what a struggle it can be. It appears that your wonderful, loving child turned into a total stranger overnight, right?
But if you are currently parenting teens. Don’t give up hope. That child who used to cuddle on your lap is still in there somewhere.
In a recent interview [Episode 26 | Season 3], Dr. Lisa Bravo shared her experience and expertise on managing our relationship with teens.
This post summarizes my thoughts and takeaways from the interview. These are my tips on repairing and building your relationship with your teen.
“Even the youth shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall”. Isaiah 40:30
Know When to Walk Away
When your teenager gives you lip or they seem downright disrespectful. Don’t respond in kind. This is easier said than done. But the term catching more flies with honey is really relevant here.
Excuse yourself from the confrontation. Lock yourself in the bathroom and gather yourself. Take a walk. Cry if you need to.
Dr. Bravo suggests and I concur that you walk away from the situation. Take a moment to regroup. Breathe and let your anger or angst pass.
If you’ve ever watched Madea’s reaction to a teenager giving her lip, you know what not to do.
Then when you are ready to have a rational conversation, talk to your teen.
Remember that you are in charge. You are the parent. But you show leadership by being respectful and being in command of the situation.
It’s hard to be in command when you are angry and say things that make you feel bad later.
Also, I almost had a stroke yelling at my teen boys for leaving the sink full of dirty dishes. I was tired after a long day of work. I let the frustration and anger got the better of me. My immediate reaction could have cost me my life.
So, please. Step away from the frying pan!
Recognize That It’s Not Always About You
Your teen’s action or reaction usually has nothing to do with you. Part of the reason we get upset, or we feel down about something that's been said or done, is because we feel it's been done to us, right?
We think, ``What did I do wrong?” or you might say, “You're disrespecting me”. But it's not always about you. My youngest son likes to remind me of this. And he’s right.
It's not always about you.
You have to approach whatever the situation is in a mature manner. It might be true that as parents, we haven't reached the point where we can act mature. We want to act out like the children. It’s just the way it is sometimes, especially if we haven't dealt with our own “stuff”.
So, just remember, it's not always about you. Dr. Bravo points out that your teen could just be holding on to a certain value. And sometimes when they hold out, disobey, and they're stubborn about their position compared to yours. It's just a value that they're holding. It’s not about you, or the relationship with you.
They always want you as the parent. We have to remember that.
Remember The Golden Rule
They are your kids and they should honor and respect you. But they are also human beings. God entrusted their care to you.
So if you want them to treat you with love and respect, treat them well too.
And in this case, heap love on them. Love your enemy.
When you see them as your enemy, love them a little bit more. Be kind. Be gentle. Because they want that, they expect that, and they need that. You might see them as not deserving of your kindness and forgiveness. But do to them as you would want them to do to you.
It's not about you, it's about your relationship with them. And it's about them.
This takes a lot of spiritual maturity. But you will gain a lot of fruit from your labor. Not only will you gain satisfaction in knowing you remained the parent. You will also by your kindness, teach your teen how to be kind as well. He will respect you more for it.
It’s Never Too Late to Connect or Mend Relationships
You might be at the end of your rope in dealing with your teen’s bad behavior. But don’t give up hope. It’s never too late to mend your relationship.
You will need to change your tactic. You will have to be the grown up. Because you are.
Remember #1, 2, 3 and you should be able to find a way back to your loving relationship.
No matter how often or how long there's been a disruption in communication or relationship with your teen, it's never too late to rebuild and reconnect with them. You're gonna have to take the lead, though. It’s possible, your teen may take the lead. But don't hold out and say, “Well, I'm the parent so you better come to me”.
Be mature. Take the lead. Admit where you went wrong. Don’t grovel. But be sincere. As you know kids have a BS meter. So be honest with yourself and them.
It will be alright, I think.
Pray For Them - Always
Don’t forget to pray for your teen. Call their names to God. He cares for them even more than you do. What’s more, He cares that you do the best job in taking care of them.
Pray a hedge of protection around your teen. Life is hard for them. In school or on the internet with bullying. Being exposed to gangs and other violent activities. They are bombarded with all kinds of things they are not ready to deal with. This can lead them to do or act out in ways you don’t understand.
That’s why you need to bring out the big guns. That big gun is prayer. And fasting if it’s necessary. Quote scriptures back to God.
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for us" 1 Peter 5:7
When we are parenting solo it can feel like we are alone. You might feel helpless But you are not alone. And you are not helpless.
Pray for your teen. Ask God for wisdom to be a better parent. Both you and your teen deserve God in your lives.
Even if you haven't been doing it, start praying now.
Ask God to help you be a better parent. To give you wisdom to deal with every situation. To teach you how to ask for help.
Remember you are not alone and you don’t have to parent in silence.
There’s help available. You can also reach out to me here.
Also, connect with solo moms just like you in our next Monthly Meet Up. Click to register now. It’s free!