Heart-to-Heart Connection

To inspire and be inspired!

Boundaries With Teens (1/10)

Perhaps there is such thing as being too open.  Perhaps it’s time I defined specific boundaries on what my preteen son can and cannot ask; after all, I am his parent, not his friend.

I wasn’t quite sure where to draw the line … until I picked up psychologist Dr. John Townsend’s Boundaries With Teens — When To Say Yes, How To Say No.

Dr. Townsend’s five key points are:

  1. Empathize and Identify — Let your teen know you were once a teen.  Share relevant experiences when asked.  Aim to listen, not lecture.  Ask questions, in the order of facts, thoughts, and emotions (from the safe to the personal)
  2. Be a Boundary — Define who you are, what you want, and what you value.  Parents are their teens’ external moral compass until teens themselves internalize these values.  Persist.  Be consistent.  Stick to reasonable consequences.  Teens need to butt heads with their parents as a way to learn how to negotiate with reality.
  3. Get Connected — Connect with mature, empathetic people who’ve been down your road (Yes, those without a judging bone inside their bodies).  Seek guidance.  Kudos to support groups!
  4. Face Your Guilt and Fear — We can only parent to our level of maturity.  Face your guilt and fears.  Your teen is still a child.  Teens should not become adult’s confidant. Seek understanding adults.
  5. Be United in Your Parenting — When parents consistently provide teens with warmth and structure, teens become less extreme, impulsive, and moody.  They are able to grow up inside, become integrated.

In other words, good parents empathize, define and implement consistent boundaries and values for their teens, seek support as needed, and continue to grow (acknowledging and facing their fears)! 

If this is not life-long journey, I don’t know what is. 

Tomorrow we’ll discuss parenting for single parents and blended families.

Thoughts? 🙂


September 8, 2009 - Posted by | Attitude, Book Review, Change, Education, Health and Wellness, Introspection, Mind, Purpose, Self Help, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I’m not sure how anyone could argue with those points. I especially like #4. It’s so stunting to children when they feel like they’re the ones doing the parenting and supporting.

    Comment by teenmamainc | May 15, 2010 | Reply

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