Traditional teen parenting has embraced the belief that teen years are turbulent and stormy, and as a result parents have had a negative vision and expectation of these years, and inadvertently have developed a corresponding negative vocabulary. Negative vocabulary only enhances and reinforces negative behavior. Negative means will always produce negative ends.

Sure enough, certain changes take place in their bodies, minds and emotions, as they make a transition into young adulthood. Their bodies start producing and infecting into their bloodstream new hormones, and their moods begin to swing. But this does not necessarily make them bad kids; intrinsically they remain good people, and this is the message and affirmation they want communicated to them.

Just as negative means will produce negative results, so will positive means lead to positive results. That is why it is crucially important for parents to develop a positive vision and an accompanying positive vocabulary. Anybody likes and thrives in a positive environment.

Parents need to parent their teenagers from their strengths, rather than always be criticizing and complaining about their shortcomings. They need to keep a perspective on their teenagers infractions too, don’t fuss too much about minor imperfections. In order to parent from your child’s strengths, find one or several things that they enjoy doing and seem to have a natural talent at, and nurture these strengths. Do not try to make them do what you wished you could have become. Let them be their true self and find their true talent and let them be and do what they were born to do. Support their choices that are in line with their strengths. Praise them for every positive progress they make. Praise will always encourage anyone. If they are doing something wrong, considerate criticism needs to be sandwiched between two praises. That is; praise twice as much as you correct. As teenagers gain proficiency at certain tasks and life skills, this builds confidence in them and they begin to feel good about themselves.

Confident people, who have a good sense of self-esteem, relate well and interact with ease with those around them. That is, they are able to form meaningful lasting relationships and connections. Parents need to encourage their teens to connect with other teens outside the family.

Character needs to be instilled and demonstrated in the home. Character is the internal moral compass that sets boundaries. It defines what may and may not be done. Teens need to be taught loyalty, honesty, integrity and respect for cultural rules and respect for authority figures. Character is best instilled through regular and consistent demonstration in the home. Character is very important and will play an important role in their choice of friends, and will give them backbone to stand up to peer pressure.

The other life skill that needs to be taught and demonstrated in the home is caring. Caring is the ability to think beyond ourselves. It is the ability to sympathize and empathize with others. Empathy is the ability to feel another’s pain, while sympathy is feeling bad that another person is feeling pain. This needs to be taught within the home. Families can volunteer together at orphanages or assisted living centers, helping others who are not able to help themselves; giving care to others.

Lastly, when these five values – namely competence, confidence, connections, character and caring – have been instilled and demonstrated to a young person, they become good citizens and good assets to society, who are able to give back to other people. They reach out to others, not with the expectation of receiving, but with the desire to give. They become contributors to society.

This article was written and submitted by Muriel Gill, who is the author of a book called “The ultimate human need.” It is a family-oriented novel that seeks to highlight the need within every human soul for acceptance, affection and to be valued. It also shows the devastating effects of rejection; i.e. when these inner needs are not met. It delves into unconditional love, forgiveness and anger management, as well as how to communicate effectively. To read the excerpts and sample pages, log on to http://www.murielgill.com, the book is also available form the publisher’s direct online bookstore. You will find the link in the author’s website; http://www.murielgill.com

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