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Monthly Archives: September 2017

How Can You Best Foster Self Esteem in Your Teenager

1). Give them clear rules to follow. All children, no matter what age, respond best to clear instruction. Your teenager may balk or fight over your rules, but this is par for the course. Clear rules communicate the value you have for your child, and when your children know they are valued, this is the first building block of self esteem.

2). Balance out criticism with appropriate acknowledgements. When your child does something well, say so. Acknowledge their skills, talents or abilities, and be sure to pay attention to the positives rather than only the negatives.

3). Let them make some of their own decisions. Teenagers learn good decision-making by actually making decisions. Allow them to make decisions with your guidance. Ask them to share their lines of thinking with you and their reasoning. Help them see where their reasoning or judgment might be better.

4). Keep in regular contact with them. Although teenagers are likely to be self-centered and self focused, be sure to talk to them anyway. Ask about their day, find out what they are feeling, and share information about your day and your feelings too. No matter how much your teenager wants to isolate or disconnect from the family, work to keep them engaged and involved.

5). Be proud of your teenager, and tell them so. When your child accomplishes a goal or is awarded an honor, take the extra step to let him or her know how proud you are. Words make a huge difference; don’t just assume that they already know.

6). Support your child during a conflict. When your child is in conflict with another, find a way to support his/her viewpoint while maintaining your personal integrity. Your child will not always be right; but he or she will not always be wrong. Being supportive of your child during conflict provides a strong foundation for meeting all kinds of challenges.

7). Examine your own self esteem and feelings of limitation. If you have struggled with your own self esteem, take care not to impose these same struggles on your child. Children are very susceptible to absorbing their parent’s opinions and belief systems, so take care not to impose your own negative beliefs on your child.

8). Be consistent. If you want to raise a healthy, well-adjusted child (and you probably do), be consistent with your rules and your approach. It doesn’t matter so much what the rules are. It matters more that the rules are always the rules. Don’t criticize your child for something one day and praise him for it the next. Children don’t gain self esteem in the face of constant change.

9). Remind your child of your support. It’s like the old saying, “give them roots to ground them, but wings to fly”. Let them know you are there to help them whenever they need it. Again, this feeling of support and constancy will help them become more confident in the world.

10). Finally, celebrate their uniqueness. Every parent has cherished dreams and goals for their child. This doesn’t mean that the child will want those same dreams and goals for him or herself. When there is a gap between desires and reality, you, as a parent, must bridge that space by letting go of what you desired and truly, deeply loving who your child is.

 

The Signs of Behavioral Disorder

Tantrums
Tantrums are not usually anything to worry about. They’re a way of expressing frustration and most children have them in their early years (from age one to four). They can be loud and violent, and it’s normal to find them upsetting or embarrassing.

Sometimes, if you can tell your child is about to have a tantrum, you may be able to distract her by getting her to look at something or giving a favourite toy.

Excitability
Young children, especially those aged five and below, are often energetic, noisy and excitable. Usually this liveliness is quite normal.

Sometimes, active and noisy children can be quite a handful, talking all the time, not doing as they’re told and seeming very restless. This kind of overactive behaviour is more usual among boys. Although this can be hard to deal with, it’s only when a child’s behaviour is extreme that it suggests a behavioural disorder.

Naughtiness
All children are naughty – scribbling on walls, fighting with siblings, cheekiness and ignoring requests are all part and parcel of growing up. Sometimes this behaviour is isolated to one-off incidents, or it may be a phase your child is going through.

Naughty behaviour may be caused by your child testing your reaction to find out what’s allowed or triggered by a change in her environment (eg worries about school). It may be down to jealousy of a sibling or it may be a way to attract your attention.

 

Tips to Communicating With Teens

# If you want your child to talk with you, then give him a reason to trust you. Keep his confidence. Ask him if what he tells you is something between the two of you or if it is okay to share it with anyone, including family members. Honor his wishes.

# When you listen, be there 100%. Erase any other thoughts or postpone them until later. Let your mind be free to focus on what your teenager is communicating – spoken and unspoken.

You can be there, fully at 100%, when you are not listening to that Little Voice in your head tell you about your child or what he is saying. Instead you will actually be listening to the words of your child, his emotions and his complete message! Big difference. Huge impact for both you and for your teen.

You must be free from agendas to be there 100%. You have no idea what your teen is about to tell you nor do you have any idea what he wants in coming to you, so ask.

# Ask how your child wants to be listened to. Does he want an opinion, suggestions, advice, or does he just want to blow off steam? No guessing allowed! When you guess wrong, you frustrate him by going in a direction he does not want to go. He may see his effort to talk with you as a waste of time and decide not to make that mistake again.

# For accurate communication, ask questions — not intrusive, prying ones, but check-ins to be certain you are hearing the message as your child intended you to hear and interpret it.

Be sure you are hearing what your teen means to say rather than what you want your teen to say or what you think your teen should say. Respond to a thought saying something like, “Is it accurate that you do not like it when X happens?”

If that is correct, he will say yes and if not, then he will state his thought differently. Check again — you want to understand him.

When your child sees that you are truly available and paying attention he just may feel understood — at least in that moment. The more moments he feels that way, the more frequently he will talk to you.

# Listen without judgment.

# Listen without expectation. When you have no attachment to what will be said or the outcome of what you hear, then you are free to pay attention to every word and every non-verbal clue.

Take all that information, check for your accurate understanding, then follow through with the request your child made for how he wants you to listen to him.

Your young adult may share things that surprise or scare you. He may do that to see your reaction — or he may do that because he trusts you enough to be frank and honest. Your challenge is to listen honestly.

If you are surprised, it is okay and, in fact wise, to say so. Note that it is honest to share your feelings about what he said. However, telling him he is wrong or he should have done such and such differently is judging.

You might follow the judgment with a conviction and a sentence. Such actions could cause you to lose the trust that led to his coming to you in the first place. Then you are back to having a teenager who doesn’t talk and likes to fight.

Consider that there is more than one way to do things and there is more than one solution to any problem. When your child tells you about something you cannot understand, ask about his thinking that led to that action. Ask as many questions as you need to so you can see his perspective.

Seeing his perspective is not the same as approving or agreeing with it. On the other hand, you may gain a fresh view on whatever the issue is.

# If your child has done something that breaks a law or a rule in your family, address that issue. Brainstorm for solutions together. Empower your teen to be responsible for every action he takes — or fails to take — in his life.

Pretending not to notice undesirable behaviors will not make them disappear. Follow the same brainstorming techniques to deal with such instances. You will be surprised how simple it is to create win-win outcomes. I did not say easy. I said simple. Success happens after doing it, doing it, doing it, until it becomes natural. Yes, that task may take effort and seem like work.

Actions and results, desirable and undesirable, reflect self esteem. To change behaviors, treat the cause not just the symptoms.