Thanks to the generosity of St. David’s Episcopal Day School, I am thrilled to invite you to a FREE 2 hour Beyond Birds and Bees Workshop.
Beyond Birds and Bees (SOLD OUT)
This workshop covers:
- Age-appropriate ‘Sex Ed.’
- Normal Sexual Behaviors, from birth to pre-adolescence
- Red Flag Behaviors: when to worry and what to do
- What’s an “askable parent”, and how to be one
- Typical questions kids ask, and how to answer them!
A reader asks: “How do you deal with a tween or teen that you know is acting badly because of puberty mood-swings? For that matter, how do you even talk to a puberty-crazed teen? They usually don’t make any sense.”
So how do you deal with a puberty-crazed teen? Very, very carefully. ;^) Well, I’m joking there, but it’s a good serious answer, too. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when thinking about or interacting with your teenager or pre-teen:
- Teenagers do NOT have a fully developed brain yet! I’m specifically talking about the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that has the best abilities to control impulses, make wise decisions, predict consequences/outcomes, etc. You are NOT dealing with a little adult. They may be big and smart, but their brains simply don’t have the abilities that yours do, yet. Try to remember, then, to be more patient and forgiving of their mistakes and missteps.
- Do more listening than talking. It’s pretty common that we as parents talk too much, anyway. There’s a famous saying about how we have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason… Teens are sensitive to criticism and control, so saying 10% less than you usually would will likely make a significant difference to them. You’ll still make your opinions known, of course, but just try to listen more than talk.
- When teens get upset, they need a parent who doesn’t get upset right along with them. The more peaceful you are, the better things are going to turn out.
- Is your teen being rude to you? Consider making your response be less about punishment, and more about how it makes you feel when they are rude. “Honey, it hurts my feelings a little when you roll your eyes when I talk to you.” It’s an honest response, and is supportive of the parent-child relationship.
- Sometimes taking a time-out allows both parent and child to physiologically calm down. Just agree to disagree for a while, if you can, and take a break. Go for a walk, drink a glass of water, call a friend for some empathy and support. Come back to the discussion later, when both of you are more peaceful and see if that doesn’t help things go more smoothly.
- Take care of your body, and try to help your teens take care of theirs. Sleep, sleep, and more sleep, plus healthy nutrition and daily exercise will all go a very long way towards moderating those crazy teen mood swings (and in helping you to deal with them better yourself.)
Finally, remember that the developmental job of a teenager is to gain independence, and the path they take to that independence is often full of mistakes, and executed in a messy way. Try not to get distracted by the missteps, and instead focus on the healthy process of becoming more independent. They won’t be crazy forever. ;^)
7 Things for Divorcing Parents to Discuss
When you start dating, what guidelines will you follow with regard to introducing the children to your significant other? Setting up expectations in advance can make a world of difference in a process that often leaves parents feeling fearful and powerless. Consider talking about these questions with your ex:
- When and how will you tell the kids you are dating someone?
- How will you explain the new dating relationship to the kids? What will the kids call him/her?
- Will you text/talk on the phone with the new SO when you have your kids with you?
- Will you go on dates during your custody time (meaning the kids are with a babysitter)?
- How long will you date someone before:
- You talk about them with your kids?
- Allow the kids & your SO to meet?
- Have outings/activities with your kids and your SO at the same time?
- Allow the kids to meet your SO’s kids?
- Go on outings with the SO & his/her children? Overnights?
- Allow the SO to come over to your house?
- Allow the SO to sleep at your house when the kids are present?
- What role will the new SO play with the kids? Will he or she discipline? How will you handle the inevitable difference in parenting styles?
- Do you want to introduce your new SO to your ex? (Do you want to meet your ex’s new SO?)
Parents should realize that as each party moves through the divorce process, naturally they will each grow apart from each other and will be increasingly less able to influence the other. Furthermore, it’s hard to think objectively about one’s new SO when you’re in the exciting and love-struck phase of a new relationship. For both of these reasons (and more,) I highly recommend setting up some mutual expectations about how to parent around new romantic relationships as soon as possible. I hope these questions give you a starting off place for the conversation.