Parenting Teenagers Essay, Research Paper
Parenting teenagers can be a difficult thing, but it doesn?t have to be if it is
approached correctly. There are four major parts in parenting. These are: education,
discipline, communication, and letting go. Each of these is an equally essential part of the
Researchers and scholars have marked adolescence as a very important
period in human development- ?the fork in the road which forever shapes an individual?s-
and mankind?s- destiny.? Adolescence is the a period when a child begins to become an
adult. During this time, the adolescent starts to develop the personality and character that
will stay with them for the rest of his or her life. According to Terry Miller, adolescence is
a time when a young person decides what path they will take with his or her life. It is a
very important time when their life has a turning point and his or her future is redirected
and established. He says that, it only seems logical that a lot of thinking and planning
would go into this time of adolescence to reinforce a positive self image that is so
important to have for growth. Instead, a lot of parents and teachers aren?t ready to help
guide these ?budding personalities.? Maybe they are ignorant or just dreading this
confusing, rebellious stage. But they are using techniques to ?deal with? teens instead of
helping them. This usually doesn?t let teens maximize the huge potential that adolescence
Raising children to have good morals and high values will help in almost every
aspect of parenting. It will also help the children in almost every aspect of his or her life.
Dr. James Dobson, a famous family psychologist, says that religion is the best way to
instill these traits. Although some children don?t appreciate being told exactly what to
believe, they don?t want religion ?forced down their throats.? Children want to be given a
choice in what they are going to believe. ?But if the early exposure has been conducted
properly, they will have an inner mainstay to stand by them. That early indoctrination then
is the key to the spiritual attitudes they will carry into adulthood.? Even if the child
doesn?t choose to believe the what the parents believe, the child should still have to
participate in the religious activities of the family as long as he or she is living under the
parents roof. ?However, the teenager should not be forced to carry the same beliefs? (55).
Dobson points out that a teenager is subjected to all of his parents ideas, beliefs,
and attitudes, which is good. It is the parents God- given responsibility to train their child
the best that they can. But there has to come a point where the child takes the things that
his parents have taught him and either accept them as the truth or rejects them as false. ?If
that personal evaluation never comes, then the adolescent fails to span the gap between
?what I?ve been told? versus ?What I believe.? This is one of the most important bridges
leading from childhood to adulthood? (54).
Disciplining teenagers can be a very hard thing to do. To make the consequence
reasonable enough to teach the lesson, but not so harsh that it will cause long term
feelings of resentment. According to Dr. Lee Hausner, there are four main steps in
disciplining a teenager. He says for the first step that discipline should start at a young age,
because if it doesn?t it will be nearly impossible to do it when the teenage years come.
Secondly, Hausner says that a parent needs to ?be specific.? This is done by clearly
defining the behavior that they expect and the consequences that will follow if the rules are
broken. The third step is for when the rules are broken, to be sure that the consequences
are connected with the activity in some way. The fourth guideline to follow when dealing
with discipline issues is to have a list of four or five major rules that must be followed.
These rules should thing that are really important, ?don?t worry about the type of clothes
that they wear or how loud that they play their music? (1).
Communication, in my opinion, is the most important tool a parent can have with
their teen. It is the key in almost every aspect of parenting. Not only is it a necessity in
parenting, but it also will develop a frienship that can last a lifetime. Without
communication parenting a teenager is definitely a hard and nearly impossible road to
A lot of times teens think that their parents don?t understand them or their
problems, points out Dr. Ferne Cherne. On the other hand, ?parents are sure they never
acted the way their children do.? When parents and teenagers lack communication skills,
often requests from either group end in fights, slammed doors, yelling, and a widening of
the gap between the two generations. But with just a little bit of good communication,
teens and parents can learn how to talk to each other, listen to each other, and stop the
disastrous things that erupt when there is no communication (Cherne 13).
There are many things that can get in the way of good communication, according
to Kathleen McCoy Ph.D. . These things are bad habits that become communication
barriers. Things such as, ?Do it because I said so? or ?Stop feeling sorry for yourself? are
common things that are said by parents that are unhealthy. When things like this are said
the teen stops listening, no one gets heard, everyone gets mad, and nothing gets solved.
Another thing that can become a bad habit is basically taking the conversation and running
with it, not letting anyone else respond back. Parents should also be careful not to
constantly overreact to problems because after awhile it will make the teen afraid to tell
them anything (Communication Barriers, 2).
McCoy also gives advise on how to break down the communication barriers. She
says that just being there for your child and listening with understanding and love will
break the barriers. One of the important ways to make a teenager listen to you is to listen
to him. A parent has to show interest in the teen?s feelings and opinions, even when they
disagree, because it helps build up trust and respect between the two. Also, respect each
other?s individuality. ?Do you want your child to be the best he can be, or the best you
want? There is a difference, and knowing this difference can aid communication? (McCoy
Talking So Your Teen Will Listen, 1).
Still other things that can get in the way of good communication, says Evelyn
Peterson in her article, Getting Teens To Open Up and Talk. She asks the question, ?Do
you find that getting your teen to converse with you is like pulling teeth?? If so she says
that maybe the reason for their silence is because the only thing that the parent ever wants
to talk about is school and family. In this situation she suggests that you talk about the
teen?s fears, hopes, dreams, or even your memories of being a teen. These kinds of things
can open the door to a deeper, meaningful conversation (1).
Peterson also writes in another article, Tips On Communication With Adolescents
and Teens, ?The biggest hurdle to good communication with teens is out obsession to
instruct and inform them, instead of talking and listening to them.? Parents do have
important things that they need to tell teens, but the ?taking care of business? mode has to
be balanced with communication that lets the teenager know that what they think and feel
is important too. Parents need to remember that teenagers don?t really care what you
know unless they know you care (2).
Maybe the hardest step to accomplish in parenting is letting go. Parents have been
an intricate part of their child?s life- through thick and thin. When the time comes to start
letting go parents might feel as though they are losing their kids, and tend to be over
protective. Dr. James Dobson says that a parent needs to have freedom from the child, just
as the child must gain freedom from his or her parents. If this never happens by the parents
giving away responsibility to the child, then the child will be hopelessly attached to the
parents for a long time. That will ultimately slow the growth and development of the child.
Many times parents want to rise up like a mighty shield to protect their child from
any potential harm, and to hold them in the safety of their arms. However, there are times
when parents have to allow their children to struggle. ?Children can?t grow without taking
risks. Students can?t learn without facing some hardships. And ultimately an adolescent
can?t enter young adulthood until parents release him from protective custody.? There is a
point in the relationship when the two generations have to change. By the time a child
eighteen or twenty the parent should start to relate to his or her child more as a peer.
In his book, Dr. Dobson Answers Your Questions, Dobson says:
There comes a point where out record as parents is in the
books, our training has been completed, and the moment of
release has arrived. If the ?child? runs, he runs. If he marries
the wrong person, he marries the wrong person. If he takes
drugs, he takes drugs. If he goes to the wrong school,
rejects his faith, refuses to work, squanders his inheritance
on liquor and prostitutes, then he must be permitted to
make these destructive choices and take the consequences
of those decisions (Dobson 214).
Dobson used the example: just as parents cannot keep their newborn baby in the
safety and protection of the womb, they ultimately have to allow his or her passage into
the grown- up world at the end of childhood. ?Along the way, wise christian parents will
prayerfully try to influence- but not prolong control over their maturing child. The rest
they leave in the hands of the creator? (Dobson 214).
Thesis: Parenting teenagers can be difficult, but it doesn?t
have to be if it is approached correctly.
B. Morals and Values
A. All of family together
1. Interaction for fun
B. Father- teen
C. Mother- teen
IV. Letting go
Cherne, Dr. Ferne. ?Communication;
Teens vs. Parents.?
Dobson, Dr. James. Dr. Dobson Answers
Your Questions. Wheaton, Illinois:
Tyndale House Publishers, 1982.
Hausner, Dr. Lee. ?Disciplining Your
Kids: A Checklist?
McCoy, Kathleen, PH.D.. ?Communication
McCoy, Kathleen, PH.D.. ?Talking So Your
Teen Will Listen.? www.tnpc.com.
Petersen, Evelyn. ?Getting Teens To
Open Up and Talk.? www.tnpc.com.
Petersen, Evelyn. ?Tips On
Communication With Adolescents and