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Parenting Teenagers Essay, Research Paper

Parenting Teenagers

Parenting teenagers can be a difficult thing, but it doesn?t have to be if it is

approached correctly. There are four major parts in parenting. These are: education,

discipline, communication, and letting go. Each of these is an equally essential part of the

parenting process.

Researchers and scholars have marked adolescence as a very important

period in human development- ?the fork in the road which forever shapes an individual?s-

and mankind?s- destiny.? Adolescence is the a period when a child begins to become an

adult. During this time, the adolescent starts to develop the personality and character that

will stay with them for the rest of his or her life. According to Terry Miller, adolescence is

a time when a young person decides what path they will take with his or her life. It is a

very important time when their life has a turning point and his or her future is redirected

and established. He says that, it only seems logical that a lot of thinking and planning

would go into this time of adolescence to reinforce a positive self image that is so

important to have for growth. Instead, a lot of parents and teachers aren?t ready to help

guide these ?budding personalities.? Maybe they are ignorant or just dreading this

confusing, rebellious stage. But they are using techniques to ?deal with? teens instead of

helping them. This usually doesn?t let teens maximize the huge potential that adolescence

offers (13).

Raising children to have good morals and high values will help in almost every

aspect of parenting. It will also help the children in almost every aspect of his or her life.

Dr. James Dobson, a famous family psychologist, says that religion is the best way to

instill these traits. Although some children don?t appreciate being told exactly what to

believe, they don?t want religion ?forced down their throats.? Children want to be given a

choice in what they are going to believe. ?But if the early exposure has been conducted

properly, they will have an inner mainstay to stand by them. That early indoctrination then

is the key to the spiritual attitudes they will carry into adulthood.? Even if the child

doesn?t choose to believe the what the parents believe, the child should still have to

participate in the religious activities of the family as long as he or she is living under the

parents roof. ?However, the teenager should not be forced to carry the same beliefs? (55).

Dobson points out that a teenager is subjected to all of his parents ideas, beliefs,

and attitudes, which is good. It is the parents God- given responsibility to train their child

the best that they can. But there has to come a point where the child takes the things that

his parents have taught him and either accept them as the truth or rejects them as false. ?If

that personal evaluation never comes, then the adolescent fails to span the gap between

?what I?ve been told? versus ?What I believe.? This is one of the most important bridges

leading from childhood to adulthood? (54).

Disciplining teenagers can be a very hard thing to do. To make the consequence

reasonable enough to teach the lesson, but not so harsh that it will cause long term

feelings of resentment. According to Dr. Lee Hausner, there are four main steps in

disciplining a teenager. He says for the first step that discipline should start at a young age,

because if it doesn?t it will be nearly impossible to do it when the teenage years come.

Secondly, Hausner says that a parent needs to ?be specific.? This is done by clearly

defining the behavior that they expect and the consequences that will follow if the rules are

broken. The third step is for when the rules are broken, to be sure that the consequences

are connected with the activity in some way. The fourth guideline to follow when dealing

with discipline issues is to have a list of four or five major rules that must be followed.

These rules should thing that are really important, ?don?t worry about the type of clothes

that they wear or how loud that they play their music? (1).

Communication, in my opinion, is the most important tool a parent can have with

their teen. It is the key in almost every aspect of parenting. Not only is it a necessity in

parenting, but it also will develop a frienship that can last a lifetime. Without

communication parenting a teenager is definitely a hard and nearly impossible road to


A lot of times teens think that their parents don?t understand them or their

problems, points out Dr. Ferne Cherne. On the other hand, ?parents are sure they never

acted the way their children do.? When parents and teenagers lack communication skills,

often requests from either group end in fights, slammed doors, yelling, and a widening of

the gap between the two generations. But with just a little bit of good communication,

teens and parents can learn how to talk to each other, listen to each other, and stop the

disastrous things that erupt when there is no communication (Cherne 13).

There are many things that can get in the way of good communication, according

to Kathleen McCoy Ph.D… These things are bad habits that become communication

barriers. Things such as, ?Do it because I said so? or ?Stop feeling sorry for yourself? are

common things that are said by parents that are unhealthy. When things like this are said

the teen stops listening, no one gets heard, everyone gets mad, and nothing gets solved.

Another thing that can become a bad habit is basically taking the conversation and running

with it, not letting anyone else respond back. Parents should also be careful not to

constantly overreact to problems because after awhile it will make the teen afraid to tell

them anything (Communication Barriers, 2).

McCoy also gives advise on how to break down the communication barriers. She

says that just being there for your child and listening with understanding and love will

break the barriers. One of the important ways to make a teenager listen to you is to listen

to him. A parent has to show interest in the teen?s feelings and opinions, even when they

disagree, because it helps build up trust and respect between the two. Also, respect each

other?s individuality. ?Do you want your child to be the best he can be, or the best you

want? There is a difference, and knowing this difference can aid communication? (McCoy

Talking So Your Teen Will Listen, 1).

Still other things that can get in the way of good communication, says Evelyn

Peterson in her article, Getting Teens To Open Up and Talk. She asks the question, ?Do

you find that getting your teen to converse with you is like pulling teeth?? If so she says

that maybe the reason for their silence is because the only thing that the parent ever wants

to talk about is school and family. In this situation she suggests that you talk about the

teen?s fears, hopes, dreams, or even your memories of being a teen. These kinds of things

can open the door to a deeper, meaningful conversation (1).

Peterson also writes in another article, Tips On Communication With Adolescents

and Teens, ?The biggest hurdle to good communication with teens is out obsession to

instruct and inform them, instead of talking and listening to them.? Parents do have

important things that they need to tell teens, but the ?taking care of business? mode has to

be balanced with communication that lets the teenager know that what they think and feel

is important too. Parents need to remember that teenagers don?t really care what you

know unless they know you care (2).

Maybe the hardest step to accomplish in parenting is letting go. Parents have been

an intricate part of their child?s life- through thick and thin. When the time comes to start

letting go parents might feel as though they are losing their kids, and tend to be over

protective. Dr. James Dobson says that a parent needs to have freedom from the child, just

as the child must gain freedom from his or her parents. If this never happens by the parents

giving away responsibility to the child, then the child will be hopelessly attached to the

parents for a long time. That will ultimately slow the growth and development of the child.

Many times parents want to rise up like a mighty shield to protect their child from

any potential harm, and to hold them in the safety of their arms. However, there are times

when parents have to allow their children to struggle. ?Children can?t grow without taking

risks. Students can?t learn without facing some hardships. And ultimately an adolescent

can?t enter young adulthood until parents release him from protective custody.? There is a

point in the relationship when the two generations have to change. By the time a child

eighteen or twenty the parent should start to relate to his or her child more as a peer.

(Dobson 206).

In his book, Dr. Dobson Answers Your Questions, Dobson says:

There comes a point where out record as parents is in the

books, our training has been completed, and the moment of

release has arrived. If the ?child? runs, he runs. If he marries

the wrong person, he marries the wrong person. If he takes

drugs, he takes drugs. If he goes to the wrong school,

rejects his faith, refuses to work, squanders his inheritance

on liquor and prostitutes, then he must be permitted to

make these destructive choices and take the consequences

of those decisions (Dobson 214).

Dobson used the example: just as parents cannot keep their newborn baby in the

safety and protection of the womb, they ultimately have to allow his or her passage into

the grown- up world at the end of childhood. ?Along the way, wise christian parents will

prayerfully try to influence- but not prolong control over their maturing child. The rest

they leave in the hands of the creator? (Dobson 214).


Thesis: Parenting teenagers can be difficult, but it doesn?t

have to be if it is approached correctly.

I. Education

A. Religious

B. Morals and Values

II. Discipline

III. Communication

A. All of family together

1. Interaction for fun

2. Expectations

3. Feelings

B. Father- teen

C. Mother- teen

IV. Letting go




Zack Beltz


Cherne, Dr. Ferne. ?Communication;

Teens vs. Parents.?


Dobson, Dr. James. Dr. Dobson Answers

Your Questions. Wheaton, Illinois:

Tyndale House Publishers, 1982.

Hausner, Dr. Lee. ?Disciplining Your

Kids: A Checklist?


McCoy, Kathleen, PH.D… ?Communication

Barriers.? www.tnpc.com.

McCoy, Kathleen, PH.D… ?Talking So Your

Teen Will Listen.? www.tnpc.com.

Petersen, Evelyn. ?Getting Teens To

Open Up and Talk.? www.tnpc.com.

Petersen, Evelyn. ?Tips On

Communication With Adolescents and

Teens.? www.tnpc.com

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