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We all learn by modeling. Chances are you observed how your parents behaved, and you behave very similarly when facing the same situations with your children . . . and “become your parents.”
Fortunately, you are not locked into those behaviors. Definitely act like your parents in the things they did well, but in the things they didn’t do so well, you can find better alternatives.
For example, when being scolded, most teens simply turn off. You’re not getting through, so simply stop. A better approach is the Socratic method that invites the teen to think about the topic and participate in the solution.
When his still-developing brain leads to actions that are impulsive, hasty, and selfish, it’s because he simply doesn’t have the adult capacity to think things through to the end, nor the experience of having made many common mistakes, yet he thinks he does. A little Socratic questioning will serve better than lecturing: Why did you do that? What did you think would happen? Why did you think that? Didn’t you imagine anything else might happen? What could you do differently next time?
Try to keep these limitations in mind when dealing with his emotional outbursts while still maintaining rules of respect and decorum. This is an age where he may be witnessing disrespectful attitudes towards adults from his friends, and you need to reinforce that disrespecting ANYONE is not right, no matter how upset you happen to be. You have to keep perspective that he is learning by trial-and-error how to deal with growing up, yet still provide solid boundaries of acceptable behavior and the consequences of going outside those boundaries.
You don not have to become your parents. You can get more advice on how your teen’s brain works and what you can do to help starting at under a dollar by clicking here to see your options.
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