Drug testing

Parenting Your Teenager: The Power Struggle

Q: My husband and I are at a loss as to what to do with our two teenagers. They have been great kids and all of a sudden it seems like we are in teenage hell! We keep fighting to see the kids we once knew, and they keep fighting to get their own way. We have been considering family counseling, and really would like to know what goes on in counseling. Can you give us some help with our kids and what to expect in counseling?

Sure can. Here's how it usually goes. I get a call from a worried mom or dad, who are at a loss as to what to do with their teenager(s). We talk for a few minutes and we set an appointment.

A few days later, Mom and Dad come in with their teenager. After we exchange a few pleasantries, we get down to work. The parent's view is something like this - they see the kid they raised from an infant changing right before their eyes, usually getting more and more out of control.

Their concerns can run through a whole range of problems. From slipping grades, bad attitudes and little or no communication all the way to depression, running away or drugs.

The teens view usually goes something like this - "if mom and dad would just get off my back and trust me, everything would be OK. I'm not a little kid anymore!"

Sound familiar? If it does, don't worry, you are part of a very big club, whose only membership requirement is to have a family with kids.

If we boil all the many concerns of this family down into a few sentences, it would look something like this:

The parent's bottom line is "I want my kid back."

The teen's bottom line is "I want to be more and more in charge of myself."

While those two statements may sound like "irreconcilable differences", they don't necessarily have to be. They are both valid needs.

I Want My Kid Back

Many parents feel as if overnight, a stranger is living in their house. They want to continue to help their kids, but their kids don't want any help. The heartfelt cry of parents has been expressed by singer-songwriters Harry and Sandy Chapin in their song "Tangled Up Puppet" -

"I have watched you take shape from a jumble of parts, To find the grace and form of a fine work of art Hey you, my brand new woman (man), Newly come into your own Don't you know that you don't need to grow up all alone?"

How to Get Your Kid Back

Realize that the toddler/child you once knew is gone. You have a budding young adult on your hands. Cherish the memories.

Realize that breaking away from you at some level is their job at this point. At the same time, they usually return once they have gone through this passage. In whatever way possible, maintain the relationship in a way that keeps it intact for when need you. Sometimes you have to catch them off guard.

Again, in the words of Harry and Sandy Chapin, "Tonight while we played tag for five minutes in the yard, just for a moment, I caught you off guard."

Remember that it's their job to act like they don't need you. But they desperately do need you. Hang in there with them.

Pick your battles. You don't have to fight to win over each and every issue.

I Want to Be In Charge of Myself!

This is not only the heartfelt cry of teenagers, it's their job as well. Parenting is one of those rare jobs where the goal is to work yourself out of a job. Unless you want your child living with you at 30.

How to Be "In Charge of Your Self"

Make sure your behavior matches your word.

Do what you say you are going to do.

From my seminar "The Care and Feeding of Parents":

"Here's how to tell when you are growing up - when you can do something even though your parents suggested it."

Pick your battles. Every issue is not a battle for independence. This one is important. If you constantly have to fight to do the opposite of what your parents say no matter what, you are just as controlled as if you obeyed their every command.

Do these things, and you'll get to be more and more in charge of your self. Don't do these things, and you have just sent your parents an engraved invitation to bug you as much as they want.

A final word for both sides: remember that the relationship is always more important than being right!

Visit ParentingYourTeenager.com for tips and tools for thriving during the teen years. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 5 day e-program on The Top 5 Things to Never Say to Your Teenager, from parenting coach and expert Jeff Herring.

In The News:

University of Oregon scientists have found the first confirmed dinosaur bone in Oregon, Fox 12 Oregon reports.
Sometimes it is just better to just let nature run its course, that's the message from officials in Colorado
NASA is joining forces with US defense giant Lockheed Martin to build a state-of-the-art test plane that could pave the way for the return of supersonic passenger travel.
A teenager was mauled by a shark while spearfishing off the northern coast of Australia on Sunday, authorities said.
Extremely rare artifacts that belonged to Alexander Hamilton have been loaned to the Museum of the American Revolution by the Founding Father’s fifth-great-grandson.
Researchers have created a new device that can trigger partial limb regrowth in frogs. The findings could lead to limb regeneration in mammals somewhere off in the future.
Forget solar panels. Researchers are eyeing mushrooms to generate electricity.
A major new climate study in the journal Nature got worldwide media coverage for finding that the oceans warmed dramatically faster than previously thought — but now the researchers have retracted that conclusion after a man in the United Kingdom blogged about flaws he discovered in the paper.
A long cold winter could hit space in months bringing record low temperatures, NASA has warned.
Keep your eyes peeled this weekend.

The B Word

Former students would probably attest to the fact that few... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: 4 Dangerous Myths

MYTH: All teens have to rebel, and the teen years... Read More

Develop Your Childs Genius: Training Your Child for Success

This time, I would like to talk about a subject... Read More

End Homework Battles

Ask parents what their biggest school year challenge is, and... Read More

Simple Living in a Materialistic World

We were sitting in the family room. My kids had... Read More

Children - Blessing or Curse

You're trying to catch up on some sleep on a... Read More

Minimizing Homework Hassles

John Bishop's Goal Setting for Students.comParents ? Minimize Homework Hassles?It's... Read More

An Overview of Alternative Treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Since so many would rather avoid the use of stimulant... Read More

Why A Father Is Not A Dad

It can be said that any man who procreates is... Read More

Helping Your Child Make and Keep Friends

What Children Look for in a Friend?Is this child fun... Read More

Gaining a Child?s Trust

My daughters and I went to the beach several weeks... Read More

Its a Sick World

It's no joy to be sick. It's even less joy... Read More

Your Job as a Role Model

A certain educator was once asked at what point should... Read More

The Child Chef

If you really want to get your children to eat... Read More

Adolescence - Clues and Advice

Be sure to respect the intellectual changes that mark adolescence.... Read More

Guerilla Parenting Techniques: What Are They?

When you hear the phrase, 'guerrilla parenting techniques', what images... Read More

Social Engineering via Robotic Toddlers

Is there a way to build a robot to help... Read More

The POWER of Your Words

Words are truly powerful things. They are something that becomes... Read More

Is Your Child Ready For an Allowance?

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

Teaching Your Child Safety

Q. What is the best way to teach safety awareness... Read More

The Laid Back Parents Guide to Teaching Your Child to Read

At first I thought of titling this article "The Lazy... Read More

How Effective Is EEG Neurofeedback Training in Treating the Symptoms of ADHD?

Many research studies have shown the overall effectiveness of stimulant... Read More

If your child is being bullied - 20 top tips for parents

Keith is now in the fourth grade and he dislikes... Read More

Grandparents! Help Your Grandkids Do Math!

This may come as a surprise.But despite all the advances... Read More

How To Teach Your Children Self-Reliance and Potential

Self-reliance and potential are two very important values that I'd... Read More

walkway lighting fixtures induction circle Pete's produce ..