From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Talking with teens

            It is not unusual for parent-child relationships to become strained during the teenage years. These are the years when kids need to develop their own identity. As a part of normal development, children either experiment with different ways of being in the world or they settle for identities assigned to them. Settling for an assigned identity is another word for becoming a “people pleaser”. Parents and siblings should feel honored to be part of this trial-and-error experimentation because you represent the trusted family circle. Here are a few more thoughts on the matter.

             In the movie, Bringing Down the House, Steve Martin demonstrates a breakthrough in communication with his teenage daughter after she is rescued from a wild party by trusted adult, Queen Latifah. He learns that by listening without being judgmental, even he can become a trusted parent, privy to the truth about his daughter’s life as an adolescent. As the Dad, Martin doesn’t pretend it will be easy to hear the truth about his daughter’s social life. The truth is not always pleasing. But by knowing the truth, we avoid being left in the dark.  Perhaps the best way to protect your children is by learning how to listen to them, and remembering that they are always watching and learning by the way that we behave.

©Copyright, 2009, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.            

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