More stories

  • in

    How to Stop Nagging Your Teenager

    By Cheryl Maguire

    It is so easy to nag at our kids in response to what they are (or are not!) doing, but experts say that you can gain more compliance and a happier family if you follow some basic guidelines.

    “Parents can develop a habit of expecting their children to simply comply with demands made of them and nagging is a reactive behavior to increase compliance,” says Dr. Linda Kudla, a clinical psychologist at The Child and Family Institute.
    Dr. Kudla explains that adolescents will typically respond to nagging by either avoiding their parent (which leads to an increase in nagging and perpetuates the problem) or react with more challenging behaviors (such as continued/increased non-compliance, lying, sneaking, etc.).
    Dr. Sherry Kelly, a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist in Hartford, C.T., says, “Generally, nagging results from a difference in expectations. Like a bad math problem, if your expectations are significantly different from your teens’ expectations, they will disappoint you and you will nag.”
    Dr. Kelly explains that parents should stop nagging because this type of behavior can cause symptoms of depression and anxiety in teens.
    Here are some solutions on ways parents can change their nagging behavior:
    Clarify Expectations
    It is important to clarify what your expectations are so that you and your teen are on the same page.
    “Parents often have expectations that exceed actual life events. Be clear about what you want for your teens and listen to what they tell you about what they want,” says Dr. Kelly.
    Understand Nagging Is Due to Fears
    Figure out what you are afraid of and then either discuss these fears with your teen or find a way to manage it.
    “Nagging can be a sign of anxiety. When parents nag, they often feel anxious for their child and the nagging helps reduce their anxiety because it makes them feel like they have a sense of control,” says Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPA, LPC, a licensed psychotherapist in Houston, TX.
    Understand this is a Normal Phase of Development
    Teens may not follow through with their parents’ requests because they are going through a normal stage of development of being independent from their parents.
    “Teenagers are gaining independence. It is normal for them to rebel or not always follow through, as it is part of this stage of development,” says Rollo.
    Amanda Sasek, MS LMFT, a licensed marriage & family therapist in Plymouth, MN concurs. “Parents need to recognize this is a normal developmental stage and work with it instead of against it. They need to remind themselves every day that their teen not listening to them is usually not an attack against them, but teenagers are trying to assert control at a time where they feel they have very little control,” says Sasek.

    “Teenagers are gaining independence. It is normal for them to rebel or not always follow through, as it is part of this stage of development.”
    -Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPA, LPC

    Create Goals with Your Teen
     If parents and teens have a common goal, then they are more likely to work together.
    “Sit down with your teen and discuss the chores that need to be done, and then ask what they would like to do and when they would like to do them,” says Sasek.
    Dr. Kudla explains that an appropriate approach might be to observe and describe the situation, while working toward a democratic and mutually acceptable compromise.
    “For example, saying ‘I notice you haven’t cleaned up your room yet. What’s up?’ then validating the reasons that it hasn’t happened yet and wondering what might help make it easier.” She goes on to say, “Ask if they need time or some help or suggest a fun outing to celebrate after it’s done.”
    Reframe Nagging into a Caring Response
    Dean Beckloff, PhD, LPC-S, founder of The Beckloff Behavioral Center in Dallas, Texas says instead of thinking in terms of nagging your teens to alternate their behavior, reframe it as ‘herding’ them toward the better decisions.  And he says if you are helping a kid to get back on track, a basic principle is to use as few words as possible and choose your words wisely.  “That immediately helps you not sound like you are nagging,” he says. He also suggests using common politeness when giving direction. “A teen is looking to be treated more like an adult so determine how you would say something to an adult and do the same with your teen.”
    Dr. Kelly recommends ending the cycle of nagging behavior by implementing PAR: Prepare, Accommodate, and Reframe.
    She explains what PAR means by saying, “Anticipate and PREPARE yourself for the situation that will trigger nagging responses. Second, ACKNOWLEDGE and ACCOMMODATE how you might feel (frustrated); and, third, REFRAME your nagging response into something helpful.” She goes on to say, “This is particularly important for parents to learn because nagging often is cloaked around criticism. You may feel like you are trying to manage or help get your teen in gear, but your teen may hear it as criticism.”
    These experts agree that most issues can be resolved with compromise; and when adolescents feel like their parents understand and respect them, they’re more likely to have stronger relationships with them and less stress overall in their already stressful teenage lives.

    “A teen is looking to be treated more like an adult so determine how you would say something to an adult and do the same with your teen.”
    -Dean Beckloff, PhD, LPC-S

    Show Gratitude
    “There are several studies that show acknowledging gratitude immediately ‘lights up the brain,’ softens the stress center of your brain, and makes you healthier and happier,” says Dr. Kelly.
    If you show appreciation for the things your teens do, then they will be more likely to do them in the future.
    And, Dr. Beckloff reminds us that it is wise to seek support when need be, whether that be a teacher, a tutor or a professional counselor. More

  • in

    Social Media Meets Social Distancing: 10 Expert Tips for Parents of Teens and Tweens

    By Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development | Contributor With the ever-increasing social media use among teens and tweens resulting from COVID-19, it’s important for parents and families to pay attention to how their kids are connecting on these platforms, what their influences and interactions are, and how best to navigate […] More

  • in

    How to Talk to Your Kids About Sexting

    By Christy Monson and Heather Boynton; Authors of Stand Up to Sexting as featured in goodLIFEfamilymag.com Experts estimate that at least 40 percent of teens are involved in sexting in some way. [1] Wait, so this is an article about . . . sexting? Absolutely! And if you have kids or work with kids, you […] More

  • in

    Family Stressed to Family Best

    By Professor Jeff Willie | Contributor Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now with the flare-up of racial unrest that is plaguing our nation—and by some accounts, racial unrest is considered a pandemic due to its global significance—we have seen more stress in the home. It is highly likely the initial barrage of […] More

  • in

    Justice For All

    By Sheryl Lilly Pidgeon | goodlifefamilymag.com As a Jewish mom, raising my children in a predominately non-Jewish world has had its share of challenges.  Our history of persecution is well documented.  Conversations about the Holocaust and injustices of every kind saturate our household. I raised my children (now young adults) to be upstanders and to know without pause […] More

  • in

    Is My Child Depressed?

    By Vanita Halliburton | Contributor We’ve all heard the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”  Even though we know better, we sometimes let ourselves believe that other families are faring better in the child-rearing department than we are. We can convince ourselves that other parents have used this […] More