Creating & Adjusting Our Expectations As Parents

Creating & Adjusting Our Expectations As Parents

It is 11:30 at night, almost an hour past curfew. That curfew was an agreed upon compromise after weeks of fighting between yourself and your teen, and yet right away it has been broken. When your child walks through the door, immediately launching into excuses and explanations, you are at the boiling point.

Shouting them down, you don’t hear about how their friend’s car broke down and your teen had to walk almost five miles home, making them late. If you had heard that story and verified it you may have reacted differently. But past infractions and your emotions – worry, anger, relief, and frustration – took over, and a miscommunication distanced yourself further from your teenager in a time where there is already a chasm between you.,

This is a common story, and one you may find familiar. The truth is that you can’t control your teen; they will make mistakes, push boundaries, and have their own attitude and agenda, But mom and dad can work on controlling their emotions, and adjusting their expectations to one that allows for more harmony in the home.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Your way might not be realistic – The “My way or the highway” approach has been used by parents for generations. But it isn’t always realistic, especially given the changes in daily living in the modern age, versus how you grew up.
  • Compromises aren’t weak parenting – Making a compromise that satisfies everyone is not a sign of a weak parent, but a rational and strong one. You can learn this skill using courses that help you to properly frame what is and isn’t a valid compromise.
  • Your teens have to make mistakes – This is just a part of growing up, though so is dealing with the consequences. Try and make the punishment fit the crime, and allow your teen to grow, not just be punished.
  • Sometimes excuses aren’t excuses – It might seem like they are making an excuse, but is it really an explanation? “I just lost track of time” isn’t a valid reason behind being late, for instance. But “I missed the bus and had to wait for the next one” is something that happens to everyone sometimes.
  • Past mistakes don’t immediately indicate future behavior – What would it be like if your spouse held every mistake over your head for years? Or your boss, or best friend? It would be miserable, and wouldn’t allow you to move on and prove your responsibility. Your teenager feels the same when their mistakes are used as a yardstick for their future behavior. Sure, it should be taken into account if it becomes a pattern. But a one time screw up? Let it be.

Learn more at Parent Learning Center.

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