Becoming the parent your teenager needs

From Nine To Noon, 11:27 am on 10 November 2016

The teenage years offer plenty of challenges for both teens and their parents.

Education consultant and parenting commentator Joseph Driessen takes a closer look at the specific skills parents will need.

It is helpful for parents to recognise early their own feelings of fear and nervousness at the loss of their child to adulthood – and that these feelings can tinge their relationship with their teenager, says Driessen.

Even if parents are feeling anxious, he counsels they remember that they have more capacity to handle their emotions than the teen.

Two ways in which parents of teens commonly go wrong are with authoritarian responses and emotional overreactions, he says.

The first and best thing they can do, he says, is add to or expand their skills of negotiation –  Can we have a win-win situation here? Can I talk about what I’m worried about? Can we talk about what you want to get out of this relationship?

Managing teenagers is partly about negotiating and partly about sticking to fundamental parenting – negotiated rules, firm boundaries and stated expectations, Driessen says.

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