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Parenting Teenagers -- Who Does Your Teen Trust?

Nov 13, 2007
Mom or Dad, this is an easy question. You want him to trust you! YOU want to be the person of influence in your teen's life. You want your teen to listen to you! You want her to respect you. You want him to come to you when he needs advice.

Parenting teenagers effectively requires learning some fundamental skills. These skills are not difficult and you probably already know them. However, skip over them or refuse to apply them appropriately and you may find your teen wants nothing to do with you.

1. Listening.

If you want your teenager to listen to you, you must first listen to him. That's old news, right? You already know all about that, don't you? But are you doing it?

If you are serious about encouraging your teenager to listen to you, then try this little exercise. Keep a log of exactly how many minutes each day you *intentionally* and *intensely* listen to your teen. No newspapers or cell phones between you. You must be looking her in the eyes and you must be reflecting her words back to her in order to make sure you understand what she's saying as precisely as possible.

Do you do this just ten minutes a day? You can do anything for ten minutes a day, right? Give it a try for a solid thirty days.

Do you find this difficult? Look at it this way. If you won't listen in this way to your teen, why in the world should he *really* listen to you?

2. Respect.

Respect is an earned quality and nowhere is this truer than when parenting teenagers. Teens are very good at knowing when someone is truly on their side or when they are being merely accommodated.

If you want them to respect your time, then respect theirs. If you want your teen to respect your conversations, then respect theirs. Teach them the 'how' of respectful behavior by extending it to them, and then tell them you expect it back from them.

Here's a strong hint: if you are working hard on your listening skills and giving your teen your absolute, undivided attention each and every day, you are moving up on her respect meter. Fast.

3. Person of influence.

Every parent of a teenager wants to be the go-to person for their teen. And rightfully so. Don't make the mistake of trying to be your teen's best friend, however. That's not your job at this critical part of their life.

They need you to be a lot more than their friend. They need you to be their *parent* and no one else can take over that role, so really throw yourself into the part!

When parenting teenagers, you need to be a leader in your family. Don't know how to do that? Look at your own life and ask yourself if *you* are interested in following *you*. Your answers will tell you a lot about how your teen looks at you and what you need to do to be the person your young teenager knows he can trust with the cares and concerns of his life.

Here's another parenting hint: focusing on listening and respect will get you headed in the right direction quickly. Every one of us who are parenting teenagers need to be skilled at those qualities.

When it comes to parenting teenagers, there are no magic formulas that bring guaranteed success. But there are some simple strategies that have been proven to work time after time. To be the person your teenager comes to when he needs something, lay a strong foundation of respect and careful listening.

It won't be long until you're hearing a lot more than whom he thinks will win the game this weekend.
About the Author
Colleen Langenfeld has been parenting for over 26 years and helps other moms enjoy mothering more at http://www.paintedgold.com . Visit her website and learn more about parenting teenagers today.
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