July 5, 2002
July 5, 2002
The Teen is in control when parents get frustrated. Once parents lose
control of their emotions, they are no longer in control of the situation.
The teen now has the power to manipulate the situation into whatever they
The adult must become aware of the Teen game plan. Parents have power once
they understand the dynamics of the situation, which allows them to have
control over their own emotions. This stops the situation from spiraling
into a power struggle and allows proper actions to be taken to help your teen
to become a responsible citizen. Action may be taken by restructuring the
situation. Humor is an aid in any relationship whether it is with teens, or
adults. Used wisely it will help “save face” for both generations.
“Saving face” is extremely important to teens. As the psychologist, Eric
Erickson stated, it is necessary for teens to throw out all the adult
warnings so that they can reevaluate and then reaccept all the character
building tools as their own. Parents find this a scary time because they
fear that their children will never return to the correct path. Indeed, it
is a time for prayer and a time to trust that all that you have instilled
will be followed as long as the parent does not damage the trust “saving
face” issue. Often the older generation creates a rebellion that makes it
difficult for teens to reinstate the cultural messages activating a “war”
between generations that could be avoided.
Teens need unemotional guidance and information. They can profit from the
adult’s mistakes, if the parent is willing to “fess up” to them and relate
the consequences of their improper actions that embarrassed or caused them
harm. Letting a youngster know, that you would want them to avoid your
missteps so that they won’t hurt as you did can create a bond, if done
properly. More importantly they need to know how this generation can avoid
mishaps. Counselors, articles and/or movies about the subject that is
applicable, mutual discussions, community resources, organizations such as the
church or the scouts may be used to buttress your authority and guidance.
The use of too much authority instead of guidance is a mistake some adults
make. Guidance such as supplying necessary information in order to make a
decision is important. Often forgotten, is setting a good example for your
teens. If you overuse alcohol, or secretly use drugs, run a red light , lie
to a friend, use foul language, etc.; just remember, your children are
watching you. One day they will model your behavior. Do you want them to
have respect for the law? Then respect it yourself. Teens are quick to
make judgments and call you a hypocrite, and then they go out and repeat your
Stopping manipulation by understanding what the Teen Game plan is, will be
addressed in the next column.