Dr. Kenney shares tips and resources on ways to communicate with teenagers about sex and dating.
It’s never an easy time for a parent as your tween grows into a teen and starts to get interested in the opposite sex. You get nervous. You look inside and know what you did when you were a teenager and you are hoping that your child doesn’t do any of the behaviors or make any of the mistakes that you made.
But not to worry mom and dad, you have all the answers inside. You actually know what to do. Let’s start to think about it, problem solve and bring the answers front of mind. So let’s start with just kind of checking your own anxiety levels about having a teenager and just try to slow down, calm down and be present with your teen, okay?
The world is not going to end just because all of a sudden they are becoming a teenager. In fact, having a teen in your home and in your family is a terrific opportunity for you to relearn things that were really exciting when you were a teen. This is your whole new opportunity to do that again. So having a teenager is a really great wonderful thing, okay? That’s step one.
Number two is get with the facts. There are a lot of rumors flying around about sexting and texting and rainbow parties and yes, they happen, okay? But it’s not the majority of kids in school who are getting pregnant, having sex, or doing drugs. In fact, it’s the minority, all right?
So you don’t want to put your head in the sand and think that none of this will ever happen to your child but you also don’t want to panic, freak out and worry that the roof is going to fall. It’s not going to happen.
So let’s talk about number three – when you have a teenager it’s a terrific opportunity to improve your own communication skills within your family because you have already noticed as your tween went to teen, things changed, right? They don’t talk the same anymore. So I have got a few resources for you, all right?
If you want to learn how to communicate a little bit better with your teen, one step is to ask more open-ended questions. Teens don’t want you inspecting them, wondering about their life and then commenting and judging on everybody in their life. So a really good resource is a book called “The Parent As Coach”. It’s written by Diana Sterling and you can go to dianasterling.com to find that resource.
Another resource that I really rely on a lot in my own practice is a site called theteendoc.com and it’s actually a physician in San Francisco who gives the best advice on teen-hood, and then honestly if you haven’t been to anniefox.com and read some of her blog and learned from some of her advice and tips I really suggest you go there because it’s going to improve your ability to communicate with and hang out with your teen.
The assumption that the teenage years are awkward and filled with strife is incorrect. I talk with many families all the time who adore their teenage children and are growing, learning and becoming more empowered because they’ve got a teen in their life.
About Dr. Lynne Kenney, Psy.D.:
Lynne Kenney, Psy.D., is a mother of two, a practicing pediatric psychologist in Scottsdale, AZ, and the author of The Family Coach Method (St Lynn’s Press, Sept 2009). She has advanced fellowship training in forensic psychology and developmental pediatric psychology from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Harbor-UCLA/UCLA Medical School. Dr. Kenney is currently a featured expert for Momtastic.com and Parentsask.com.