Can Parents Rescue This Out-of-Control Teen?
"If you know parents who rescue their out-of-control teens from consequences, ask yourself, "Do those teens behave better?"
Our expert authors actually work with teens and see the kids who don't. From their book, The Whipped Parent, I'll share how natural consequences can be great learning experiences for out-of-control teenagers and why rescuing often doesn't work.
The first type of consequences your adolescent will experience are natural consequences. Natural consequences happen as a direct result of your child's behavior and may have nothing to do with you.
Slug refused to go to school, and he failed some of his classes. Brandy had sex with many different boys and caught a sexually transmitted disease. Top Dog got into fights and ended up with stitches and scars on his face. Target got caught shoplifting and was arrested.
Natural consequences are very important. They will occur throughout your child's life, into adulthood. As a child or teenager, Jack may experience a consequence you've developed. He will experience natural consequences forever. It's what will help him think through his behavior. Natural consequences will influence the choices Jack makes, long after he's moved out of your home.
Parents are sometimes in the position to keep natural consequences from happening for their children. Top Dog's mom spent years "saving" her son from some natural consequences of drinking and fighting. When he was thirteen years old, a peer pressed assault charges.
Top Dog's mom went to court and convinced the judge to let her son attend therapy instead of being put on probation. When Top Dog couldn't get up for school because of a hangover, his mother called to excuse him. "I had to help him," she would say. "He's my son, and he's already been through so much.
After she began attending Al-Anon meetings, Top Dog's mother realized she wasn't truly "helping" her son. She was simply rescuing him from the natural consequences that went along with his choices.
Once she stopped rescuing him, Top Dog started to put more thought into his decisions. Often times he still decided to drink and fight, but at least he thought about what could happen."
It's hard to avoid rescuing kids from their own bad behaviors. We love them and we fear they'll be hurt. The authors have presented us with situations where resuing has made things worse. What are your experiences with rescuing?
Let's give a BIG HAND to Kimberly Abraham, Marney Studaker-Cordner, and
KathrynO'Dea for their outstanding book and for choosing to be counselors helping teens and parents. You'll find helpful solutions in their book.
The Whipped Parent is available on Amazon.com
Sit back, relax, and then share your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping out-of-control teens? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.
Jean Tracy, MSS
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