Parenting Teens – That Fine Line Between Trust and Stupidity
Having gotten three of my children safely through their teens and into their twenties, and having one on the cusp of his third decade, I feel pretty confident in my ability to guide kids through those years commonly known as the teen years.
I almost feel like there should be ominous music when you read those words. I think that I am good at it because I did so much during my own teens that there isn’t much they can do that I haven’t thought of.
Not that they don’t try.
The battle cry of all teens seems to be you don’t trust me; a phrase that is used at some point in nearly every argument – especially those heated discussions that contain the word, no.
The theory is that accusing a parent of distrust will make the parent feel guilty and therefore recant her denial of her child’s heart’s desire. It works with a lot of parents and kids know it. I used that one myself back in the day.
What these inexperienced parents don’t understand is that their teen is using a highly evolved strategy. While parents see the confrontation as draining and hard the teenager sees it as an adrenalin producing challenge.
If he wins, he knows his opponent’s weakness. If he loses he can use the intel he has gained to create a strategy for the next battle. He is exhilarated and energized. The parent? No matter which way it goes, the parent feels guilty, exhausted and drained.
There is a fine line between trust and stupidity and it is easy to cross without realizing. It happens when we forget the nature of teenagers and just how predictable that they can be.
Always go with your gut feeling and don’t be swayed by their accusation. Saying no has nothing to do with lack of trust. Quite the opposite – you trust them to act exactly like a teenager.