NLP Life Training - 10 Years

8 Top Tips For You... And Your Teens, Part 1 - by Kate Benson

Kate Benson has years of coaching, mentoring and being a mother and grandmother behind her. Her courses on parenting and teaching give her the opportunity to really address the fundamentals of the parent - child relationship. In Part One of her article on getting the best out of your family, she gives 8 immediately useful tips - 4 each for the parent and the teen - to really make a difference.

Kate Benson, International Director of Education for the Society of NLP
Kate Benson, International Director of Education
for the Society of Neuro-Linguistic Programming

I have spent a great deal of time helping parents navigate the trials and tribulations of the teenage years with their children. I also spend a great deal of time helping teenagers navigate the trials and tribulations of having parents! In this two part guide I want to share some quick and easy tips and hints for parents and teenagers. This guide is not designed for the few parents and teenagers who have serious problems in their relationships and lives. It is designed to help you realise that you love your child and your child loves you. Read them together or separately, depending on how you feel. Perhaps you will gain an insight into what is going on for each of you.

 
Parent Tip 1 - Relax! 
You have probably found yourself getting wound up about the mess in the bedroom, the grunting communication, the cries of ‘everyone else is going to the party’, etc. The first thing to remember is that the teenage years are time limited. By the time your teenager is 18 years old (or maybe 21 if you are not so lucky) they will be a responsive, loving, reasonable human being again, just like when they were 11. So at the very least all you need to do is wait!
 
Teen Tip 1 - Relax! 
I know that your parents are the most un-cool, embarrassing people you have ever met and that all your friends have parents that are much more reasonable and enlightened. However deep down you know – even if you are not going to admit it - that your parents love you and want the best for you. It won’t be long before you are an adult and out there in the world with all the freedoms your parents have but don’t utilise. Just wait a while and everything will be OK.
 
Parent Tip 2 - Remember you are the parent. 
Your job is to set the boundaries and hold them firm. This does not mean that you have the right to yell, scream or ask your teen ‘how do you think I feel?’ They have no idea how you feel so don’t expect them to understand. Decide what rules are absolutely immovable and stick to them. Bear in mind that the boundaries will have to change in time as you gradually relinquish control over your teen’s life but for the time being be clear, fair and calm about the rules. You will be tested and your job is to stand firm. If 10pm is curfew then its 10pm – no dispute no arguments – it just is. Limit the number of rules you have otherwise you will exhaust yourself trying to impose them so a maximum of 5 is good. Remember Tip 1!
 
Teen Tip 2 - Remember you are the teenager. 
You may have more energy and fun than your parents but you are still testing out what is OK and what is not OK. Your parent’s job is to set some boundaries to keep you safe as you explore the wider world. Your job is to keep checking that the rules and boundaries are still there and are the same as they were yesterday. If they are, check out why and accept that they are there for a reason. Most of them are there to keep you reasonably safe and reduce parental fear. This is a very big factor for your parents so try to be tolerant of their needs. If you genuinely think that its time they moved the boundaries, create a reasoned and balance case and be prepared to discuss this without trading, threatening or stomping off.
 
Parent Tip 3 - Keep up! 
The teen years are characterised by rapid change and development. You will be running to keep up with your teenager in many ways. What is an appropriate curfew at 15 is not at 16. Don’t be King Canute trying to hold back the sea. When it is time to change the rules, do so reasonably and rationally. Discuss what is reasonable and agree with your teen that the boundaries have changed. Your teen is a different person today than they were yesterday. Yesterday they may have loved burgers, today they are a vegetarian. They will tell you that they have always hated burgers. This is true because the person they woke up as today has always hated burgers and they are not the person they were yesterday so keep up!
 
Teen Tip 3 - Slow down for your parents! 
You need to accept that your parent’s life runs at a slower pace than your life does. They have been doing things the same way for a long time and are very set in their ways. They will not be able to keep up with your fast pace so be kind to them and explain very carefully to them what is happening now in your life. You will be making some major decisions in your life very quickly and this is great for you but it is really scary for your parents, so be kind to them. They will keep reminding you of things that are long gone in your life, like the time you liked cabbage, or the time you happily visited Uncle Fred. They do not understand that, you are not the same person as when you were 10 - that was then and this is now!
 
Parent Tip 4 - Remember the energetic umbilical cord.
Your teenager is able to go out and explore the scary big world only because they can be secure in the knowledge that you are a stable force in their lives. Some parents think that now their teen is out every weekend they can get their lives back and start partying. NO! Your Teen may stay out until 11pm but if you are not at home when they arrive back or phone to check in, you will have to account for your actions! You may well get an even bigger grilling as to where you have been than you give them when they are late. This is normal and the teens need as much, if not more stability from you than they do when they are first learning to walk and explore the new world around them. 
 
Teen Tip 4 - Allow your parents some freedom
Now that you have a life outside home, it’s time to let your parents have some freedom too. They used to have a life before you were born and quite enjoy a night out or a chance to act on a whim. If they are not home when you get in, don’t panic and just give them a call to ask what time they will be home. Then put the telly on and wait patiently for them to come back. It’s a good idea to ask them if they had a nice time and make a cup of tea. You will score lots of points for this approach which you can cash in at a later date if you need to, like the next time you forget to say where you are going!
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Kate's General Advice: 
"Life with your children or your parents can be a pleasure or a pain. It’s just a matter of making some adjustments to navigate through an exciting and formative change in your relationship. The most useful skill you can gain is to smile, take yourselves lightly and enjoy the ride."
 
Kate Benson is Director of Education for the Society of NLP. Look out for Part Two of Kate Benson's article - soon!

Find out about Kate Benson's course on NLP parenting here

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