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“Situations will inevitably arise that will test your teenagers resolve. There will be parties with alcohol and probably drugs.”

A teacher once explained that in disciplining our kids when we present something as forbidden, we subconsciously create a desire or a temptation. He explained, “If I told you that you were forbidden to look in this drawer, for example, you would start questioning- to the point of obsessing about what could possibly be in this drawer.” In the same way, as parents, if we forbid our teenagers from certain behaviors, we may be tempting them into a curiosity for engaging them.  

Teenagers are in the thick of temptation and desire with many social pressures coming their way. As parents, it is our duty to help them navigate through peer pressure and safety issues as they come. But in order to effectively help them, we need to be able to be honest and real with our kids about hot button issues. When we engage in honest conversation about our values and our expectations of them in a way that is respectful, we create less of a need for them to rebel.

Situations will inevitably arise that will test your teenagers resolve. There will be parties with alcohol and probably drugs. There will be ample temptations for sexual experimentation. And there will be safety issues, such as driving under the influence or other risky behaviors of peers.  If your child feels like you are their ally and not their warden they will be much more likely to ask for your help and your advice.

Please be clear, that there is a huge difference between a parent trying to be their child’s friend and a parent that wants a more evolved level of parenting. There are still consequences to wrong actions. There are still clear boundaries. But ideally, if we can open  an on-going dialogue with our children rather than  lording over them ways that will push them further into the direction of rebellion, we are really keeping them much safer.

Children, to some extent- typically engage in risky behaviors because of a fierce need to express themselves as separate from their parents. By helping your child avoid this knee jerk reactive behavior, we are giving them a chance to still be their own person, while hopefully avoiding some of the unfortunate pitfalls of teenage rebellion.

 

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