When I started my first Website which I lost due to improper Domain Registration, that Site was strictly Dedicated to Parenting. Doing Research on the Subject I came across a Book Titled Parenting with Love and Logic. I was so impressed that I contacted the Publisher and asked for Permission to Print Excerpts from the Book on my Website. Permission was granted with the Stipulation that the Excerpts didn’t exceed my own Blog Posts. I felt Privileged and Honored to receive their permission. The following Excerpts caught my attention, so here is the first of many to come.
Love and Logic Principle:
Let Teens Own Their Problems and Their Solutions
Love and Logic consultant parents help teens through life by offering choices and sharing control in the process, all the while building on their teens healthy self- concept. They let teens own their problems as well as solutions. Building a strong self- concept is the first of three things we can do with teens so when they reach the age of temptation, we’ve got a chance that they are not going to abuse drugs and alcohol or engage in other risky behaviors. The second thing we can do is to help teens learn how to make decisions. We do this in part by letting them own the responsibility, including the good feelings as well as the disappointments of those decisions, planting in their consiousness this idea: ” The quality of my Life depends on the decisions I make.” Third, we can make it clear who owns the responsibility for a particular problem.
If Parents don’t draw clear lines of demarcation when they are called for, they and their teenagers are in for a lot of grief. Let the teens own their own problems, their own feelings, their own disappointments, their own rewards. One of the worst things we do is give teens the message that they shouldn’t do something because the logical consequence of their action is to make adults mad. First that encourages them to shape their actions according to the voices outside their heads. And second it can reinforce an immature rebellion in some teens who will go out of their way to make adults mad.
Either way they don’t own the situation. For example, let’s say your daughter is Driving the family Car and she’s tempted to show off for her friends. Should she be thinking, Boy if crash this car, my dad’s really going to be mad is that how a mature teen would react? If she is a sensible young woman on her way to healthy independence, that’s not what she’ll be thinking. Instead she will say to herself, gee if I crash this car, I am going to splatter us all over the highway. Guess I better be careful. It’s the teens responsibility to own the problem and find a solution. But that’s not as easy as it sounds, because we are tempted to rush in like Helicopters to protect our son or daughter from the real world.
Or we march in like a drill Sergeant, bark a few orders, and expect the teenage troops to fall into line unquestioningly. Those temptations must be resisted. As a person in the helping profession of Education, I always felt tempted to solve my students problems. So I had to train myself to do something different by using a keyword: Bummer. Whenever I used that word, it reminded me to be careful. Don’t solve the problem for him. Don’t give him a solution. Don’t give him advice,and don’t be defensive. Let him do the thinking. And when the student hears bummer it sounds emphatic. Gee too bad Bummer. I bet that feels lousy. If we show that we understand how they feel, we hand their feelings back to them- for their control, not ours.
Ownership of problems also flounders when we confuse praise with encouragement. Twenty years ago Public Schools began using something called positive reinforcement. That philosophy says That if we spend a lot of time telling teens how well they are doing, they will do better. This approach works well with teens who sees themselves as a 10 because they don’t have to search for proof to backup their self-image. But how many teens in our classrooms or homes really consider themselves 10s? We encourage teens best by talking to them as adults.
We do not build self- concept by telling them they’re good. Teens with a poor self-image will simply discount it, and they will probably end up worse off than if we said nothing. One day teens are down; the next day they’re up. It goes with the territory. We can help by criticizing them as little as possible and by refraining from telling them what should be discovering for themselves. We want them to think for themselves, so we should be asking them questions instead of ordering them around. When they say they are going to do something stupid, we can respond, “Well, that’s an opinion. You can do that. Have you ever thought of this”this and this? We wish you well, and we will still love you no matter what happens. By talking to teens as if they were Adults, we convey the strong message that we expect them to act like adults and take charge of things in their lives. But we certainly don’t do this by Lectures or Threats.
Excepts from Parenting Teens with Love and Logic