Drug testing

Advising Teens? Getting Your Point Across

Giving advice to a teenager is very easy; getting a teenager to take that advice is another matter altogether. It's not only a case of the advice 'falling on deaf ears', sometimes the teenager seems to go deliberately out of their way to do the exact opposite, that's when you know you've got a problem. So how do you go about giving advice to a teen?

The short answer to this question is "don't". Now at first glance this probably sounds ridiculous, after all parents have more experience of life and most would agree that a parent's job is to pass this experience onto their children.

But the problem with giving advice is that it's really just a way of maintaining control. We often cover it up by saying we know what's best in the situation, we have the experience and knowledge, but in reality what we're saying is what we want to happen, this is what we want you to do.

Adolescence is a time for learning to self-manage, to take responsibility for yourself and your actions. It's an essential process if your teen is to become a well-adjusted, fully functioning adult ready for the 21st century. And a fundamental part of the process is handing over control to your teen.

For most parents this is a really scary thought. They're concerned over what will happen if they do, that if they give up some control it will mean they lose all control. They're concerned about what their teen will do, what happens if they get it wrong, they feel a need to protect their teen.

Firstly, handing over control at this stage is more about handing over responsibility and accountability on how to do something, not handing over total control. It's about letting your teen have an involvement in how to solve a particular problem, it's about teaching them problem solving skills. If you always provide the solution how will they ever learn to do it for themselves?

Secondly, your teen is very likely to get it 'wrong', to make mistakes and what is wrong about that? You're teaching them how to self-correct, just as they did when they first learned to ride a bike and kept falling off. Making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process; more learning comes from making mistakes than comes from getting it 'right'. How much does it really matter if they don't get it 'right' first time or choose the 'best' alternative?

Finally, is your solution the 'best'? It's easy to forget that our children are different to us when thinking about a solution to a problem. The solution may be the best one for you, but is it the best one for your teen?

Giving advice by telling teens what to do is only one way of passing on a parent's knowledge, there are other ways of achieving the same outcome and with a higher likelihood of success. And it's how you pass on that experience that makes the difference.

How to Get Your Point Across

  • Ask before you give. Always ask your teen if they want your advice before you start to give it. If they say, "yes please" then go ahead and have your say, if they say "no" respect their decision and keep quiet.

  • Question their intent. If your teen has refused advice, ask them specific questions about how they're going to handle the situation. Asking questions about smaller 'parts' of the problem is a way to at least get your teen to think about what's involved.

  • Provide information instead. Directing your teen to a source of information that's neutral allows your teen access to information without having to agree to your point of view.

  • Give your teen time. Just because your teen hasn't given you an immediate answer to your question doesn't mean they're ignoring it. Give them time to go away and think about the answers.

  • Highlight their qualities. Reminding teens of their strengths will focus their minds on choosing options that make the best of them. Focus on their weaknesses and they're likely to lose confidence in doing anything.

  • Listen to your teen. Often just listening to your teen without interrupting will show you that you don't even need to give advice; your teen already has a solution.

    How well do you listen to your teen? Why not find out by taking my listening quiz aimed at parents of children over eleven.

    Carol Shepley has been involved with young people for over 10 years and, as the parent of a teen herself, fully understands the pressures placed on parents and teens today. She now shares this knowledge and experience through her website http://www.growingupmatters.com so that parents can help their children become resilient, resourceful and responsible adults.

    In The News:

    Beachgoers in Bonita Spring, Florida were treated to a strange sight last week: an alligator going for a swim.
    A remarkable map created in space over 50 years ago could lead a modern-day explorer to the sites of treasure-laden shipwrecks in the Bahamas.
    Scientists studying bones unearthed from an ancient tomb in China’s Shaanxi Province have discovered the remains of a new but totally extinct species of ape.
    Mars may be known as the Red Planet, but it's a "blue dune" image NASA has released that's got everyone talking.
    Experts in Italy say they have found the earliest surviving work by Leonardo da Vinci.
    Microsoft founder Bill Gates is pouring £3million ($4 million) into a project to create killer mosquitoes that destroy each other through sex.
    Bedrock under Antarctica is rising more swiftly than ever recorded — about 1.6 inches (41 millimeters) upward per year. And thinning ice in Antarctica may be responsible.
    A new study validates Einstein's theory of general relativity in a distant galaxy for the first time.
    On Mars, the sky is dust.
    A small moon rock gifted to Cambodia by the United States amid the Vietnam War has resurfaced after being all but lost to time and strife.
  • Top Ten Things My Six Year-Old Son Has Taught Me (So Far...)

    I've learned numerous, important lessons on life, motherhood and men... Read More

    Tips for the Classroom Teachers with ADHD Students

    Thank you for all that you do in the classroom!... Read More

    New Baby ? Relax and Become a Yummy Mummy

    Lets face it becoming a mum is a bit of... Read More

    What Are Your Children Really Watching?

    Saturday mornings. Cold cereal and Scooby Doo. How many parents... Read More

    Labor of Love

    The small, lilac colored hexagonal box, with Winnie the Pooh... Read More

    Understanding The Report

    "No thank you. Don't bother to send me the report... Read More

    Vision: 20/20 Is Not Enough!

    Now is an excellent time to have your child's vision... Read More

    My Husband Prioritizes Making Money Above Family Time

    "Money is tight, and my husband's obsessed with doing everything... Read More

    Detox To Help Conception

    Detox To Conceive.. If you're having trouble conceiving... Read More

    Aptitude, Achievement, Processing Deficit - What Does It All Mean?

    You are sitting with the professionals who know about learning... Read More

    Who Are Your Kids Talking To Online?

    Studies have shown that:1 out of 4 children were sent... Read More

    Is Your Child Ready For an Allowance?

    Children think money grows on trees. Maybe not literally, but... Read More

    Ten Helpful Little Tips For New Parents

    The Greatest Gifts in Life, which are always created for... Read More

    Discipline

    Discipline is a necessary part of parenting yet it makes... Read More

    Single Mother Sanity Savers Pt. 1

    Being a single mother is no easy task. I know.... Read More

    Ten Reasons to Tell your Kids Stories

    In today's busy world, many parents have lost the art... Read More

    Potty Training Battle of the Wills

    Some children practically potty train themselves, while others struggle and... Read More

    7 Ways to Survive the Start of the School Year

    It happens every year. Just when you are settled in... Read More

    Childrens Friendships Made Easy

    Most research into children's friendships shows that those children who... Read More

    Home And School Education - Your Kids Can Benefit From Both!

    Once, as a Learning Support Teacher, I made my way... Read More

    Teach Your Children - Without Them Knowing They Are Learning!

    The great thing about children is they absorb knowledge like... Read More

    Childhood Obesity & Parents Healthy Food Confusion

    Many parents struggle to know which foods are healthy for... Read More

    Hair Care for Children

    Salon visits can be scary experiences for small children: They... Read More

    Mommie Moments ? Taking Time For Yourself

    Being a parent is a role that requires a large... Read More

    The Secret, Unconscious Game Children and Parents Play Where No One Wins!

    Did you know there's a game children and parents play... Read More

    led parking garage fixtures residential street lights Pete's produce ..