Parenting Tips For Teenagers Vol 6 – Asking and Listening

This is part of my monthly series on Parenting Teenagers.

In last month’s post I highlighted a growing issue for me and the teenager and acknowledged that:

I need to accept how important technology is to him and find better ways to manage the how much and when he can use it.

The teenager also when he can get away with it has been skipping breakfast. As we set the table at night, I can tell if he hasn’t had breakfast as his place setting at the table remains untouched. Some mornings I miss that he has skipped it, but I don’t want to be in the position where I am watching him to make sure he eats breakfast.

So in an attempt to solve these two problems I asked the teenager for solutions:

  • I asked him what does he want to eat for breakfast – what can I have in the house that will make sure he eats something before he goes to school?
  • I asked him how he wants to manage his technology usage during the week and on weekends?

And as he spoke I listened. I didn’t interrupt or suggest my solutions, I just listened, not saying anything until he had said his piece. Then when I spoke, I reflected his solutions back to him, to show him I had listened and gave him my opinion. I didn’t agree with everything he said and I didn’t necessarily like the solutions he offered, but I agreed to trial them:

  • He likes avocado and vegemite on rice cakes for breakfast. I agreed to keep up a supply of avocados for him.
  • He wants to be able to have unlimited technology during the week once he has finished his homework (he was only allowed 45 minutes). He was happy with his weekend set up of 2 hours of technology. We are going to trial this for two weeks.

Having listened and agreed to his solutions, I then asked the following of him:

  • That he applies himself to the best of his ability on his homework and does not rush it to get onto technology.
  • That he undertakes his jobs and preparation tasks without being asked. If we do have to remind him to do them, he needs to respond with respect and complete the tasks without complaint.

I also asked myself some questions too. There are areas where I think I can improve my parenting, so I am contemplating these at the moment and thinking about ways I can change what I am currently doing:

  • How involved were my parents with my homework?
  • How much tv/technology did I have as a teenager?
  • How did I want my parents to treat me when I crossed the boundaries?

Have you reflected on your childhood to help you parent your kids?