How to manage unruly: 7 ways to make a teenager listen to you
What to do with the one who can not force, there is nothing to punish and unrealistic overstraining? How and what can influence almost adult son or daughter – tells Xenia Buksha.
There is such a wonderful person in St. Petersburg – Natasha Romanova. Her children are grown-ups and she is a philologist and neurophysiologist who works with teenagers – she leads “The School of Literacy by Natasha Romanova”, where she uses her own scientifically grounded system to teach high school students error-free writing without using any rules. It does not teach them the same way as in school, but effectively, quickly, cheerfully and for a long time. So, Natasha Romanova is quite harsh on those parents who call their teenagers “kids”. They are not children anymore. But, on the other hand, they are not yet adults. How can you influence them?
1. Forbid and compel.
Actually, we do have this tool. But we don’t have to use it voluntarily, which means that the price may be spoiled relations for life. That is why we use it only when it is an absolute disaster. Drugs, anorexia, talking about suicide, gangsterism, involvement in a cult – grab it and pull it away from the edge.
We are adults and we can still do anything we want with a teenager, even put her in a convent school, like one friend of mine did with his drug-addicted daughter.
She was there for six years and got out at twenty, when all her friends and girlfriends were already dead. I don’t want to judge that daddy, or praise him, or assess him in any way, and I certainly don’t wish anyone a reason to follow his example-just trying to show the scale of the problems in which it makes sense in principle to act this way. But smaller accidents like “dropping out of school,” “having sex before marriage”-are we willing to pay for that with a relationship with a child? “Hangs around with his phone all day” – are we willing to pay for that? More likely no than yes, but what if he’s seriously depressed? Before wielding an iron hand, we must also understand where we are going to drag it.
2. Draw up an agreement.
In writing. And hang it on the wall. For a parent, an agreement is wonderful because it can make living together with an expansive (from the word expansion) young person bearable. Parents and children have rights and responsibilities.
The parent has the right to sit on a clean toilet in the morning. The child has the right not to answer text messages, but the child has a duty to answer the phone. Or vice versa
Anything thrown outside the room goes in the trash can. For dirty marks on the ceiling, you have to whitewash it yourself. Anything, as long as the points are realistic for our family and we discuss them together. Most teenagers already know how to control impulses, and therefore will follow these points. The good thing about the contract is that when the sanctions come there is no point in blaming the bad parent: everything is fair, the wrappers and skins from the bathroom must be removed without a sound, and in my room can rot away at least forever. It is important that the contract is not an attempt to get the teenager to want “the course of his life,” the contract is not a motivator. It is merely a means to clearly delineate boundaries. Therefore, it is not necessary to enter into it clauses like “computer time, which is no more than two hours a day” and other things, which do not concern the parent personally in any way. A contract is a division of rights and responsibilities, territory and resources.
3. Handing over autonomy
Like Yeltsin did with the Union republics: “as much as they can swallow. We say good night to him, and he turns on the light, andeee… In the morning you wake her up, you wake her up for school, and she aaa… That’s it, the parent is tired! A teenager needs to understand that if he really feels strong enough to fight a parent, he is also strong enough to finally beat him at something. Let’s put our paws up: we’ve been defeated. We can’t put you to bed if you don’t go to bed yourself, and we can’t make you wear a hat if you don’t think it’s cold. And pulling a “decent gymnasium” is all you can do on your own anymore, and if you don’t pull it, then you have to leave it.
The 8 rights of a teenager that parents in vain refuse to acknowledge
On the plus side, we can think long and hard before we let something go, and we can take the rights back if we see that things are headed for some kind of total collapse. I thought you could handle it, but you’ve been going to bed at six in the morning all week and not studying at all – which means I’ll have to tuck you in and wake you up for months to come. But we’re not disappointed, we’re constantly reality-testing – maybe you’re ready now. I overslept on Tuesday and Wednesday, but got myself ready on time on Thursday – yep! We get such scales: here while we are stronger, and here she is, and here again while we are.
4) To discuss plans.
Since the age of 15-16 we have to let the older teen understand what level of support is waiting for him after 18, and where we will start to insure his risks. It has to be very clear: for example, “we will always pour you a bowl of soup and you can live with us, nothing more, but you can count on it. Or “you’re responsible for your studies yourself, we won’t exempt you from the army if you don’t get in”. Or “you don’t have to worry about anything until your sixth year. Or “we’ll get you out of the army, but we’ll make you go to work and contribute to the family budget.” These are completely different agendas for our baby. A man has to plan for his future somehow! Otherwise, you live with everything ready-made, but there is a kind of vagueness, uncertainty: am I an adult or someone else? And when I become an adult, then what? And when? And if I don’t, who is to blame? If you clearly discuss all of these things together, talk about specific plans for the future and ways to achieve them, you may have a direct, close motivation. Only the plans, of course, must be made together.
We don’t “put a teenager on notice that after 18 he’s out of our living space” or try to “give him a good education.” Only together.
Testing games? A pathologist? Or a bye-now-nobody-I-love-you-mommy? Thank you, I love you, too. Very much so.
5. Turning Off
Well, it’s all pathos and common words, but every day what to do? A young lady doesn’t want to go to the store instead of her mother, who has a sick baby. What is there to do? For every day our main tool is to switch off. There are such heaters: heat the air to a specified temperature – once, turned off, stand like a goody-goody and cool down. A parent of a teenager needs to know how to do that, too. Don’t know what to do? The child has broken all the rules, is vehemently resisting, doesn’t want anything or really wants the wrong thing, our strength is not enough to convince him?
Let’s ask ourselves if, God forbid, anyone would die if we shut down right now. If the question is not fatal at the moment, we bravely go into “off” mode.
This means that we continue to be present, but we stop conflicting. We drink tea peacefully in the kitchen. Do only what we want to do now. If our child is really difficult and problematic, it’s a good prevention of co-dependency. The main difficulty is to turn off all the general and pompous thoughts like “what will he grow out of it. That’s not what we’re interested in right now, but living quietly for an hour.
And one more thing: it is more useful for a teenager to see not a strict parent, but a person who knows that he is right, but refuses to fight. Who kind of silently says, “it’s your move,” “you know how to act yourself.” And, importantly, lets you do the wrong thing. My daughter did not go to the store that day, she did not feel good about it, and next time, she may not even have to ask.
By shutting down, we give ourselves a break and let life work for us instead of our educational squeals.
6. Turning On
Well, if we know how to turn off, then we need to turn on correctly, too. Many of us know how to take a genuine interest in anyone we talk to – well, such a secular skill. What is worse than a grown-up child?
Every day, at every meeting with a teenager, we set ourselves up for a friendly chitchat, which includes our own remarks, and listening to the interlocutor, and feedback. We choose a topic of interest to the interlocutor (not about school). We engage, we smile, we nod, we listen, we are mentally horrified, but we don’t evaluate or chew. This kind of conversation is always effective, even in times of conflict! Relationships almost immediately go to another quality level, and many topics can be forgotten forever – they will be preempted and prevented on the far side. Some teenagers do not say five words to each other all day, and even those are “put the phone down, go and study lessons”, what tools of influence can we talk about in these conditions?
By adolescence, our sons and daughters have usually known us for a long time (unless we are talking about recently adopted ones). The objects “mother” and “father” are learned, and their reactions are familiar and predictable. For example, “my ancestor does not scold me for grades, but if I do crap in the car, will have all the way to the brain. Well, here’s a surprise. On Monday, “Good for you! “If it wasn’t for you, I’d be crazy about cleanliness!” – and we’re on our way. Tuesday: without a word, we hand over a rag and a garbage bag. Wednesday: “Oh no, I can not with such a dirty, you take the subway, meet me at home. Come up with four more reactions before Sunday. The gist isn’t important, the range is. Affectionate banter, witty irony, inspired hounding, absurd absurdity, sometimes sarcasm, and sometimes a little bit of tenderness, as with an infant. A teenager is a kind of infant-adult, a newborn full member of society. He is born into adulthood and in this capacity deserves (occasionally and moderately) restrained ootie-poosies – just be careful. To surprise again and again, to be a different person, not just a “parent” function, to show how interesting it is to really connect, to find ways to each other, approaches, to be alive. Maybe there won’t be fewer stumps in the car, but are they the point? But all participants in the conversation will develop this, what’s his, – ah, yes! – emotional intelligence. Which, we can say, if there is – that’s half the happiness.
Why the kids do not listen to mom.
The situation when a child disobeys exactly mom and behaves perfectly with strangers is by no means uncommon.
WHY TODDLERS DON’T LISTEN TO MOM, BUT THE CAREGIVER DOES
- It’s not mom’s fault!
- “My kid doesn’t love me.” It’s someone else’s fault.
- “I’m a worthless mother.” It’s all my fault.
- “Everything that’s going on is perfectly normal.” It’s nobody’s fault!
- Why does the child get spoiled around the mother?
- Next to his mom, the child feels … a child!
- Close to Mommy, the baby feels safe
- Close to Mom, the baby copies her behavior
- Next to Mommy, your baby doesn’t know who to look up to
- What else you can do
“Wonderful girl: smart, calm, and how obedient!” – praised her daughter’s kindergarten teacher. Smart, calm and obedient girl at the same time sniffled noisily, which marked the beginning of a terrible transformation: from a tiny blond angel to a horror flying on the wings of the night.
“Yes, yes, that’s exactly what she is,” I nodded in agreement, perplexed: what forces make a child behave badly at home and instantly turn into a sweet baby doll in kindergarten?
As it turned out, the situation where a child does not listen to his mother, and behaves perfectly with strangers – not a rarity…
It’s not mom’s fault!
Mom, who can not pacify her own child (forced to talk to him at high tones, and even punish, calling for order), rather hurtful to find that a grandmother, a nanny, an educator achieve the same playfully. As a rule, it is visited by the following thoughts.
“My child does not love me. Someone else is to blame.
The culprit is, of course, the grandmother, the caregiver, the nanny – it was she who insidiously took the place in the heart of the child meant for the mother.
“I am a worthless mother. I am the only one to blame.
If Maryivanna succeeds and I fail, it means that Maryivanna knows the magic words that appear in every woman’s head at the same time as the birth of her child. If I can’t do it, there’s something wrong with me.
Unfortunately, responsible mothers rarely consider the third, the only true option.
“Everything that’s going on is perfectly normal.” It’s nobody’s fault!
Such behavior is really absolutely normal and testifies that the child gradually adapts in a society: from simple recognition of “a stranger”, which is typical for infants, it passes to various models of behavior, depending on how close this or that adult is.
But still, why is it with his mother that he spoils and misbehaves?
Next to his mom, the child feels … a child!
Usually parents are mentally prepared for the crisis of 1 year, a crisis of 3 years and the urgent demands of independence, autonomy and sovereignty. However, there are quite a few kids who do not seek “self-determination” at all, on the contrary, for peace of mind and mental comfort, it is important for them to consolidate the status of the smallest, defenseless, in need of tutelage. Because of this, the child may “lose” at home the long-standing skills, for example, to “unlearn” how to dress or eat with a spoon. And note that this is not a caprice and not a pampering!
“There are many reasons for this behavior: severe stress (divorce or death of a parent), and childish jealousy (birth of a younger brother or sister), the mother’s desire to force the development of the child, for which he is not ready, finally, some babies themselves are just developing a few slower than their peers and are not ready yet to distance themselves from their mother.
What to do? Do nothing. If you do not notice alarming signs (“bad behavior” is demonstrated only to the mother, but it does not become part of the degradation process, which indicates a disease), then you should treat the temporary “fall into infancy” calmly and patiently. The child will outgrow it, having received the necessary volume of your attention.
Close to Mommy, the baby feels safe
When do we adults allow ourselves to be cranky and fool around? At home, surrounded by loved ones, when we feel comfortable and relaxed. We are unlikely to behave this way at a meeting with business partners or at the reception of an official… So the child perceives the tutor or babysitter coming in as “officials” and tries to behave accordingly – like a diplomat at a complicated political negotiation. Not a gesture unconsidered, not a word in simplicity – what if you slip up somewhere… But with the mother you can throw off all this nervous tension and splash out all that has accumulated for the day.
“The good news is that your child loves you and trusts you completely. The bad news is, no, you can’t live at that pace. It’s not good for anyone, not even Minister Lavrov.
What to do? Take a closer look at the nanny, the group of kindergarten, and to the orders that are set at home with his grandmother. Ask yourself: is your child comfortable there? What can be done to make him feel calm and safe there? Perhaps. The answer will have to be sought together with a psychologist.
Close to Mom, the baby copies her behavior
Finally, another reason why kids “freak out” when they are alone with their mom. Mom herself, and let’s just say, not a model of calm! Yes, you probably do not paint the child in the colors of another prank of a colleague-sleazy or autocratic boss. But if you have not yet moved away from the conflict at work and inside you all boils and cloches, if you are still scrolling in his head afternoon conversation (and witty remarks that you had to say in response to comments, but for some reason, did not), then … even the “Repka” and “Chicken Little” in your performance will produce the same impression on a child as a thriller with fights and chases.
“Many babies are so sensitive that they “mirror” even their mothers’ carefully concealed emotions, no worse than professional psychologists reading them by involuntary facial expressions.
What to do? Take care of yourself. Rest. Get some sleep. Go to the hairdresser. Master autotraining, to be able to turn off the most difficult and unpleasant problems, though for the time that you spend with your child.
Next to Mommy, your baby doesn’t know who to look up to
Another common situation: a child behaves perfectly well with his grandmother, fine with spending time with his mother, but it is necessary to be in three at the same time and in the same place, as the baby begins to scandalize and be capricious. This situation is especially unpleasant because the mother may receive unfair rebukes from the grandmother: “Wonderful kid, we had a great time, but you came, and things got bad. Obviously, you don’t know how to handle a child, look how you should….”
” Perhaps the child is just feeling at a logical impasse. He knows that mom should listen and behave in a certain way. But mom has just handed over authority to grandma, telling her to listen to her and behave! Feeling “under dual control,” especially if mom and grandma give contradictory instructions (“make sure you finish your porridge to the end – no, if you don’t want to, don’t eat it!”), the child does not know who to listen to, and does not listen to anyone as a result.
What to do? Avoid situations of “dual control” until the child gets used to the family hierarchy. For example, if you regularly leave your baby with a nanny, aunt or grandmother, make the transfer procedure simple and fast. Come, say goodbye to the child, go on business! If you live and raise your baby with a grandmother, then clearly agree on a common position on all, even the most minor issues.
What else you can do
The sooner you familiarize the child with his emotions, learn to recognize them, the sooner he will learn to control them. Tell your child exactly what is going on with him or her (“I think you are tired…”, “I see that you are hurt”), show that you understand and share his or her feelings, and finally explain how to deal with them. Keep a calm benevolent attitude, even if your child’s behavior doesn’t meet your expectations.
And remember: your child does not set out to make you angry or upset, so there is no point in being angry or offended with your baby. He loves you, he really does!