Parenting Teens: staying close means time with Dad.

by Jennifer Dyer

Ever seen a parent who has a great relationship with their teen son or daughter? Did you wonder how they did it? From the days of my own youth, to the times I spent as youth group leaders, and during my journey as a mother, I have observed parents and their teens to understand some of this for myself. The other day on our www.momlifetoday.com Facebook party, some of the moms said they wanted more blogs dedicated to parenting teens, so I will share some of what I learned.

I want to preface this by saying that some of the greatest parents in the world can turn out a rebellious child. For the most powerful example look at God—He is a perfect parent, yet … humans manage to be pretty stubborn and rebellious, do they not? So, that being said, some children choose to rebel despite their parents. My goal as a parent is to do the best I can and live with no regrets.

One of the methods I have used to investigate parenting teens well is to ask teens themselves what they need. I cannot tell you how many girls mentioned time spent with their fathers. I know for some families Dad is absent, so perhaps another trusted male like a grandfather can help with this. Girls want to know they matter, they want to know they are special, and they want affirmation from Dad. I remember from my own childhood running  to show my dad a new dress and wanting him to tell me I looked pretty. Mom was great, but Dad was … somehow tied to how I felt about myself.

So, here are some ways Dad can show he cares:

Dates with daughter. One teen I know has a family with half a dozen girls, so this is a challenge. But she remembers almost all of her dates with her dad. Part of what made it special was that he would ask ahead of time, plan it out, and pick things they both enjoyed. It didn’t sound like any of the dates were fancy or expensive, but the girl’s face lit up when she recalled different evenings. Getting hot dogs, pizza, seeing a movie, going ice skating… The options are huge, but it all boils down to time and intention. Dad’s intent was to make her feel special and to spend time getting to know her.

Family Fun Nights: This can look different, but the entire family should be present (mentally and physically) and doing something that requires interaction. Yes, movies can be fun, but try also playing games, going bowling, taking a walk, making dinner together, doing a service project together. Anything that requires intentional time interacting. The kids might whine about it, but they will probably recall those nights often as they mature. Our family often played the board game Clue. My husband is still fascinated by how seriously we take our Clue games…

Interviewing her dates: There is a good book by Dennis Rainey on this topic, so I will let him give you the finer points, but the main focus here is interest. Take an interest in her dating life. Take the time to let boys know how special she is to you, and that you take your job to protect her seriously. This even starts at a young age. The other day I saw some of our third graders playing around and one of the boys tackled my friend’s daughter. I said, “Oh, her daddy will not be happy to see you tackling her like that.” That boy moved so fast you would have thought a snake bit him. The girl had a wistful smile on her face: she knew she was treasured by Daddy. Dads are powerful and they can go a long way to protect their daughter’s purity along with her desire to respect herself.

Affirmation: Take an interest in your daughter. A girl does not need constant condemnation from Dad. She needs affirmation. I’ve heard from girls who are so hurt when Dad constantly harps on their weight or other attributes about themselves.  They grow tired of trying (unsuccessfully) to please dad and give up. This may mean gaining more weight instead of losing it, letting grades slip more, and even becoming seriously involved with boys to gain male approval and love.

Moms: We’re just as important in other ways, but give Dad some props for all he does. More tomorrow…

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0 thoughts on “Parenting Teens: staying close means time with Dad.

  1. While we are taking on the topic of Parenting Teens: staying close means time with Dad. JenniferDyer.net, Great parenting can not be clearly defined, as it’s very often a subjective idea. 1 parent’s definition of good parenting may be another’s definition of poor judgment.

  2. Being that we already seem to be sharing factors regarding Parenting Teens: staying close means time with Dad. JenniferDyer.net, demonstrate positive parenting by celebrating the accomplishments of your children. Have a special dinner for a great report card, hang good schoolwork up on the refrigerator, give consistent verbal praise for a job well done, and take special notice of good behavior in social settings.

  3. If their positive accomplishments are never validated, then they do not learn to continue. Frequently we assume that they know their initiatives are appreciated. But those who practice constructive parenting know that a child’s initiatives should be verbally recognized – consistently and enthusiastically.

  4. While we are dealing with items within the vicinity of Parenting Teens: staying close means time with Dad. JenniferDyer.net, If there are issues that your child does that truly annoy you, you can either get angry with him whenever he displays them, or you can be the 1 to admit the truth, if he is mirroring something in you that needs to change.

  5. When children are noticed for his or her poor conduct and ignored when they’re acting appropriately, it sends the wrong kind of message. And what can result – when constructive parenting is not utilized – is a lifetime of acting out in order to get attention.

  6. As we’re on Parenting Teens: staying close means time with Dad. JenniferDyer.net, If there are issues that your child does that really annoy you, you can either get angry with him whenever he displays them, or you are able to be the one to admit the truth, if he is mirroring some thing in you that needs to change.

  7. While we are writing about Parenting Teens: staying close means time with Dad. JenniferDyer.net, If their positive accomplishments are never validated, then they don’t learn to continue. Often we assume that they know their efforts are appreciated. But those who practice positive parenting know that a child’s efforts must be verbally recognized – consistently and enthusiastically.

  8. Being that we already seem to be sharing factors regarding Parenting Teens: staying close means time with Dad. JenniferDyer.net, Raising children can be subjective and complicated. But there are many hard and fast rules that seem to bridge the gap between a myriad of parenting styles. Positive parenting – offering children positive feedback for their achievements and efforts – can go a long way towards raising positive, emotionally healthy adults.

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