Why won’t my child/teen listen to me?
I’ve done my best and tried to give my child all of the things that I never had. My parents were so mean to me when I was growing up that I said that I would NEVER be that way with my own children. I would make sure that they knew that I love them. I take them on special outings and buy them the electronics they want so they don’t feel left out when other kids have things. However, they yell back at me and won’t do what I say. They are so disrespectful and don’t appreciate all that I do for them. Our family dynamics just seem different now. Where did I go wrong?
Why won’t my teen open up to me and let me in?
My mother was so cold and closed off that I had no one to go to when I was a child. I have made it a point to be a friend to my daughter, so I don’t understand why she talks back to me and won’t confide in me. I always wanted that close bond with her, but she just curses me out and tells me that it’s none of my business. I tell her she’s grounded and can’t go out with her friends, but she just sneaks out through the window. Nothing I try is working, and I feel like I have failed as a parent. How can I practice responsible parenting when she won’t even talk to me?
My child is struggling and I don’t know how to help her!
I noticed cuts on my daughter’s arms and legs when I accidentally walked in on her in the bathroom. She rushed to put her robe on and yelled for me to get out of the bathroom. I didn’t understand what I was seeing or what was happening. I didn’t know if someone had attacked her or not. When she finally left the bathroom, she admitted to making the cuts on herself when I confronted her. She’s so beautiful, and I don’t understand why she would want to hurt her body. She said “it helps me cope with my problems and makes me feel better.” I don’t understand this at all, and I’m afraid for her. I feel so lost and don’t know how to help her! Maybe we just need some kind of family support?
Learning the difference between being a “good parent” vs a “responsible parent.”
Most parents want their children to have a “better” life than they did if their childhood was not ideal. Too often this involves providing material items wanted by their children to show how much they love them. However, the role of a loving parent is to teach their child self-discipline and provide boundaries and structure so they become responsible, contributing members of society as adults. Unfortunately, kids don’t come with an instruction manual, making communication skills extremely important. It is possible to reward good behavior, but love is not based on a number of material possessions one can give. Quality time together and showing you love them enough to teach and enforce rules can be learned through family counseling to have a more peaceful and compliant home.
Learning to improve communication and gain compliance through counseling.
Many parents believe forming a “friendship” with their teen will bring them closer and help gain respect. Some even take it further and attempt to be the “cool” parent that allows their teen and their friends to do things other parents wouldn’t. However, this disturbs the hierarchy of the parent as the authority figure. It is difficult for the child to know when the parent is in the role of a friend (equal) or parent (authority figure). We will help you and your teen redefine your relationship and work on improving communication between you and your child. As strange as it sounds, kids do want and need structure, boundaries, and enforcement of consequences because it gives them security in who they are, helps them to KNOW that they can trust what you say, provide a safe environment and gives them with what they want most….love and a “parent”.
You are NOT a bad parent because your child is experiencing emotional difficulties.
As human beings, we all struggle in some form to figure out how to handle problems that arise and/or are unfamiliar to us. When your child has resorted to self-mutilation or other forms of self-harm (hitting themselves, pinching themselves, etc.), it proves they have learned a poor and frightening means to cope. It seems strange to most people that inflicting pain on oneself relieves negative emotions, however, the person engaging in the behavior has a distorted view of releasing pain. For some, it is easier to feel physical pain vs. emotional pain.
Through family counseling, your child can learn healthier ways of coping and to use tools in handle their negative or painful feelings. You, the parent, will also be taught how to support your child and be a part of their healing process.
If you struggle with any of these, or other types of parenting challenges, please contact us today and ask to schedule a first time appointment with Dr. Steph who specializes in building better relationships between parents and teens.