Lazy Parenting Hack - CALL 'EM OUT!
I hang around A LOT of teenagers and their parents. I have been witness to A LOT of eye rolls, mumbled answers, and out right rude and disrespectful behavior such as yelling, swearing and even hitting. And YES, some of these have been directed at me by my own children.
But...how I react is what is important. Do I just sigh and say “teenagers will be teenagers” or do I CALL THEM OUT and say “woah, that is unacceptable. I would never speak to you or treat you with such disrespect” and then engage in a conversation about it with them.
I firmly believe that parenting teens comes so much from the work you put in when they are young. Expectations, boundaries and relationships are built over time. Expecting to change any of this, after habits around the above have been going on for a long time, is unreasonable. It’s not going to happen (at least not easily). The old adage “people treat you the way you allow them to” not only applies to our co-workers & friends but also to our children.
Where does this behavior come from? I don’t believe it shows up suddenly. It starts small with little things that you may not think are much and it slowly grows. I think it is important to start early and NOT allow them to get away with it. The eye rolls, the mumbles for answers, the ‘pretending they didn’t hear you. Set your expectations and rules around behavior early. Have the conversations around how it makes you feel, why they are doing it, what is really going on.
<<more on this and the teenage brain TOMORROW- be sure to check back!>>
My advice - call them out. Point out the behavior. Don’t allow it. Start young. Explain how it makes other people feel. Start teaching empathy. Start teaching them that their actions affect others around them. Having these conversations when they are young will help to have to conversations when they are older. Have clear boundaries around what is acceptable in your house.
I also implore you to remember that respect & kindness is a 2-way street. We have to speak/treat them with love & understanding. As parents we have to model the way we want them to speak to us.
Now, I am not a perfect mom and my kids are not perfect teens. I have my fair share of stories that involve yelling, slamming of doors and tears. But, I have worked REALLY HARD to develop a relationship with each of them that is based on mutual respect so that when one of us messes up, we have the ability to come back together, apologize and move on.