Never Argue With an Adolescent

Those of you who have children in this age group certainly understand this statement. It is a motto all good teachers live by, as it is the only way to survive the day in a middle school.

Parents, who don’t yet have children of this age, be forewarned, never argue with an adolescent; the child will out talk you every time.

Parents who choose to argue with an adolescent end up frustrated, often times befuddled, and angry, while it appears the child enjoys the test of wills. Adolescents can out last and out argue anyone. It seems they find pleasure in it.

One attribute of this age group is a growing awareness of injustice. Parents of adolescents hear statements like, “it’s not fair”, “he/she did it too”, and “you’re picking on me” as a child begins to demonstrate his own sense of justice.

While on a larger scale parents will notice older children being more aware of social injustices. Developmentally, it is in the adolescent years that children begin to notice and talk more about the world around them.

Many young people grow emotional or angry over global issues like world hunger, senseless war, and the destruction of natural disasters. They ask questions like how could this happen and what can be done to change it.

It is this same sense of justice that has children arguing to get their way until a parent finally caves in and cries “uncle”. Hence the child gets his or her way in the battle of wills.

So the question becomes, how does a parent work through issues with these strong willed children. Here are three tips that may help to keep you sane as you work through these trying years.

1.  Be fair

If your child asks to attend an event with friends, at school or other social setting, think it through before giving an answer. Unless the request is completely unreasonable, take time to think before responding. There will be plenty of requests from a child to gain more independence throughout these years. It is wise for parents to choose their battles well. The best way to truly be fair is to take a moment to consider the request.

2.  Be firm

If you know the answer to a request is a solid, “no”, then state the answer firmly leaving no room for doubt. This does not imply that parents should treat children with disrespect. A harsh tone does not need to be used. Simply, ‘no” will do.

If your child chooses to argue the point, ignore him or her. It is not easy, but the sooner a parent learns to live with the background noise of a disgruntled youth, the better. Ignoring children when they protest lets them know you mean what you say.

3.  Bargain

Most parents use this technique with younger children. One example most of us see regularly is a child crying in the grocery store. The parent offers candy or gum to pacify the child. This technique works even better with older children because bargaining with older children offers rich rewards.

Take for instance a child wants to attend a party. In the meantime, a school science project is due; it is perfectly acceptable to link attending the party with earning a passing grade on the project. At this point, the choice belongs to the child. If he or she chooses to take time to do the project well, the party is the reward.

Bargaining works with simple tasks as well. Parents can link daily chores to small rewards like watching a favorite show, playing on the computer, or talking on the phone.

Bargaining is a win/win situation for parents because it links children’s desires to a skill most young people need to learn, responsibility. This is a natural way for adolescents to simultaneously grow more independent and responsible.

Word of caution:

This technique is a great one, but it only works when parents are in the driver’s seat. Bargaining is not a two way street. It is not advisable to allow children to turn this around and attempt to set bargain guidelines. If this occurs children should be firmly told, “No.” Let them know this technique is a parent tool. Be prepared for the, “It’s not fair” argument and stand firm.

Parents, to avoid arguing with your children throughout their adolescent and teen years, it is important that consistency is established. Children need to know parents are in charge. Parental follow through during these experimental years helps children grow through the adolescent and teens years safely. It helps to set a firm foundation as children grow into responsible adults.

Happy Parenting!


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Five Tips to Help Bully Proof Your Child

As an educator, I have always noticed some children simply do not appear to be likeable to others. No matter to what extent a teacher goes to to help a child become more socially accepted, it seems that some children simply do not have a knack for socializing.

Over 20 years of experience in the classroom has lead me to notice these less social children arrive in the early grades smiling less, pouting more, and seeming less open to others in general.

I am sure it will come as no surprise to know as these children get older and move through the grade levels with this self-absorbed attitude, they appear to have few friends and acquire a reputation for being “different”.  As such, these children are generally the ones that make the best targets for bullies.

I do believe it is the responsibility of the adults in the lives of these children, teachers and coaches included, to offer these less social children situations where they can practice social skills. It is imperative for a healthy sense of self-esteem and well being that children are given guidance in how to make and be a friend. To assist parents in helping their children to be more likable and social, I have listed some tips that may be useful.

Children need to be around other children. Begin in the toddler years to schedule plenty of play dates for your children. Being around others allows your child to learn valuable skills such as caring, empathy, sympathy, sharing, and bonding. By interacting with others from an early age, children learn to be social.

Do not make everything about the child. Many children grow up in an environment where they are the center of attention. Adults and older siblings dote on them. This is perfectly normal and acceptable inside the family unit. But doting needs to be tempered by situations where the child understands that he/she is not the center of attention in every situation. Children need to realize they are part of something much larger. The earlier children are exposed to others outside the home, the easier this concept is for them to accept.

Tell your child to smile often. It is human nature to be drawn to those who smile. People who smile appear friendlier and more approachable to others. This simple gesture allows others to know when one is open to making new friends. Teach your child to smile from an early age by allowing them to see you model this behavior often.

Teach your child to ask questions. One of the easiest ways to make new friends is by showing interest in people. Everyone enjoys someone who seems genuinely interested in him or her. As a way of bonding and getting to know others, teach your child to ask appropriate questions of others about hobbies, vacations, sports, likes and dislikes.

The biggest key to your child knowing how to act in social situations is you. A child who grows up around people who socialize will be more likely to enjoy and engage in socializing. Be sure to let your child see you as a social being and when appropriate allow children to be part of your social network.

The article link below offers some helpful tips to parents as they teach social skills to their children.,2933,584671,00.html

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Social Injustice Can Help You Bond With Your Child

Most young adults have a keen sense of justice. During the adolescent years it’s as if they are just waking from a long sleep to realize the world is not a fair place. The words, “that’s not fair” can be heard from some adolescents’ daily. To their credit, they speak these words when they witness unfairness in any situation, not just those that affect them.

As parents, we try to speak logically and rationally about how life is not always fair. We explain that we too felt outrage and anger over unfair situations when we were young. We point out that as we mature we learn to accept what can’t be changed.

Sometimes these youth are so touched by situations that they refuse to “buy in” to the adult acceptance of life’s injustices. Instead these young people find the means and support to alter and improve circumstances.

Throughout history the naivety of the young has often created solutions to social issues that adults were too hardened, busy or callous to embrace. Think about this the next time your child brings up an unfair social situation.

Make time to talk with your adolescent or teen about social issues. Discuss appropriate items that are making headlines in the news. Get your child’s perspective and opinions on these issues.

Firstly, it is rewarding as a parent to hear the views of your children as they mature into young adults. Many parents feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment as they learn more about the views of their children.

Secondly, you may just stumble on a cause or project that you and your child can embark on together. You never know when the naivety of the youth and the resources of the mature may create a ripple that is felt across the community, state, country or world.

To view how some inspiring young adults made a positive impact on injustice watch this video at the link below.

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Happy Parenting!


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Sticky: Children Who Feel A Sense of Purpose Are Happier


Children who are engaged are happier

Dear Parents,

A happy child is the unspoken creed for successful parenting. Yet, many times parents feel helpless when they see their children experience sadness, apathy or low self-esteem. If you want to improve the well being of your children you are not alone.

Over 20 years experience in education has lead me to an understanding of what attributes are necessary for children to succeed. To embrace the world with excitement and joy children need to feel a sense of purpose.

Unlike adults who can actively seek situations where we can connect with others and garner a sense of purpose, children must have most of their needs met within the family and school settings. The elements needed to raise happy well-connected children are attainable for every parent. Most require little time, but offer great returns on building a foundation for your children to be happy and engaged in life.

This site shares insights, advice and guidence for parents. By implementing some of the suggestions offered here, parents can help their children feel a heightened sense of happiness,  belonging and success. Sign up to receive updates on new post and learn simple ways to improve the life of your children.

Happy Parenting!


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