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Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

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Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby Brenda N on Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:20 am

I think we all hear about the troubles with teens - the attitude, the hormones, the drugs, alcohol, grumpiness, skipping school, smoking, etc etc etc.
We've all been teens and seen it, done it, been there in one form or another. And we all know that not everyone follows the same path.

I grew up in East Vancouver. Some of my friends went down some very bad paths - some didn't. And that was before the internet - but there were weapons and drugs and alcohol and lots of cigarettes around. We all had the same hormones, similar single parent families with a relatively small range of family income. Even back then, it struck me that parenting made a difference. It wasn't the whole deal - kids did what kids did (good and bad) sometimes despite home and parents.....but in general parenting still played a big role and made a difference (good and bad).

Dh grew up way on the other side of the tracks in Vancouver. Went to private schools, hung out with people who mostly had two parents, SAHM's, and higher incomes. And there were less weapons, but the same drugs, alcohol, etc... and the same paths. Some of his West Van friends shared the same jail cells as some of my East Van friends..... But, again, parenting did make a difference.

To me it seems like there have always been "groups" of kids...not quite as simple as in the "Breakfast Club" - but you know what I mean.....the jocks, the pot heads, the nerds, the cheerleaders, etc.

So here's my thing. I think there are things we can do to help lay the groundwork towards teens who will navigate these years with less "risky" behavior, less disrespectful demeanors, and more positive outlooks. Some kids are just going to have much more extreme choices, hormones, etc. Some kids are going to be harder to work with and some are going to get in with friends who are not the influence we would like. But there are still parenting choices we can make that may help. I thought we could share some ideas here.
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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby Brenda N on Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:21 am

A biggie for me is trying to learn about the technology before my kids do - to try to be ahead of them on the curve at least at the beginning. OR to at least have a sufficient understanding to know the problems when I see them and to have the discussions before we get there.
Attending Darren Laur's sessions has been a help with that.
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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby OnceHarmony on Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:30 am

In my family growing up my parents only wanted to hear good things so we hid anything bad from them for as long as we could (until sometimes it got sooooo bad we had to go to them).

I am very big on keeping the lines of communication open. I want to hear good and bad and everything in between and my DD never gets disciplined for anything she tells me. I don't want her to shut down in talking to me/telling me things.

I will NEVER be ahead of my DD on the learning curve of new technology :) so hopefully her being able to talk to me about anything helps mitigate that somewhat.
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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby Brenda N on Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:45 am

Yes, that's good.
And also, not being too defensive of your child. I have noticed that some parents are quick to deny any wrongdoing of their child - whether coming from a teacher, another parent, a child, or whatever. Its a fine line between standing up for your child, and being in denial.
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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby MizJennaKH on Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:57 am

Great thread. Thanks, Brenda
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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby Ginger Snap on Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:17 pm

My kids are nowhere near being teenagers, but I totally agree about laying the groundwork in advance.

For us, we do as OH does, and encourage honesty about everything. My motto is "Just tell me the truth, and we can work it out."

Also, taking a page from Dr Gabor Mate and Gordon Neufeld's book (literally) we make family time a priority. I am pretty staunch about not letting other committments come in the way of our family pizza night, which is every Friday. I will turn down offers to go out with friends, etc, so that we keep that night sacred, even though it would be so easy to just postpone, or cancel for one week, or whatever. My feeling is that if we show our kids early on how important we think family time is, over time with friends, then that will hopefully be a value that they carry on as they grow up. Conversely, if my kids see that time with family is something you slough off anytime you get a better offer from friends, then they will likely adopt that value as well.

I truly believe that creating a family-first home will help in the long run when it comes to dealing with the challenges of the teen years. The challenges will always be there, but as long as my kids feel like they can come to me, be honest, and not shut me out, then I think we'll be OK.
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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby Brenda N on Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:50 pm

Good point about making family time a priority. Along the same lines - I think its important to make thie time appealing to the kids. They don't always want to do what I want to do and it can become a duty rather than a fun time. My work schedule varies - so we don't have a regular night that we are all always home - but we have a family movie night most weeks - and spend a good portion of the weekends watching their various sports endeavors.

I have found that being involved in an organized sport is an easy bit of groundwork (although as they get older there are plenty of pitfalls there too) -- but often wonder what can replace this for kids who are not sports oriented. I feel we've gotten off easy that our kids have all been interested (not superstars by any stretch though) in certain sports (soccer, etc) and we've been able to accommodate that financially and time-wise. What do you do if your kids hate sports, or if you just can't make it work financially or if you work weekends when many of the sports seem to be in full force?
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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby TazDevil on Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:26 pm

My biggie is to never teach my children to obey us, their parents without question, and never expect them to do what you say "just because you are the parent"

Barbara Coloroso taught me that one. She said when kids are little if they are taught to obey their parents and never question then when they get to be teens, they are more likely to replace their parents with their peers and never question them either.

Children need to be taught how to reason and understand and choose their behaviour because they believe it to be right, not because someone is imposing it on them. As parents we should always be able to justify and explain the purpose of the discipline.

That is also the reason we personally stay away from any groups that have doctrine to be obeyed without question.

At all costs we avoid the because "I'm big and you're little, I'm right and you're wrong, I know more than you" etc.

Another one is that I don't rescue my children from struggles, heartaches, falling, failing, etc. Childhood is where to learn that there are bullies, life isn't fair, some people won't be your friends, you won't get invited to every party, you will fail if you don't do the work, others will be mean etc.
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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby OnceHarmony on Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:02 pm

It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future ― Yogi Berra
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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby Sunnygirl on Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:02 pm

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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby OnceHarmony on Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:31 pm

Thank you Sunnygirl. I get it now.

My siblings were in sports. Lots of sports. It never kept them out of trouble. :lol:

I dislike joining any organized sports (I like my sports disorganized, sorry I couldn't resist :) ). I like exercise but dislike sports if that makes any sense.

Both DH and I have never been sports people. We like exercise (hiking, swimming, biking, kayaking) but nothing to do with sports teams.
Our DD seems to be running (no pun intended :lol: ) the same way.

My siblings have never said (at least around me) that they think that the sports they were in gave them a good base. I do remember them all saying (at least around me) that they remember the family support they had. How at least one of my parents were at every game of some such they were in. I remember going to these games and cheering them on. I remember my mom asked one of my brothers once if she embarrassed him screaming from the stands and he said no way, he loved the support and got energy from it (she was a good screamer, only yelled go _______, you can do it ________, never yelled horrible things at anyone like some parents can get).

I remember one of my brothers saying that when he looks back at our old family photos we are all smiling. I remember my friends being amazed that we all sat down to dinner together every weeknight. I remember my friends reminding me of the speeches my dad would give at Thanksgiving or Christmas about the importance of family.

Sports laying the groundwork? Not in our family. In our family, it was (is) family that laid the groundwork.
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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby OnceHarmony on Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:33 pm

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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby TazDevil on Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:31 pm

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.

Steve Jobs
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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby Ginger Snap on Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:03 pm

I didn't get the sense that Brenda was suggesting that organized sports was some sort of panacea for avoiding difficulty in teenaged years, or that the lack of organized sports was a harbinger of doom. What I got is that it is *one* way to lay the groundwork with an activity that:
-promotes healthy living and discipline
-encourages teamwork
-builds in time for parents and children to be together, i.e. at games, practices, etc.
The same could be said for families who do a regular board game night, or who go on hikes together, whatever. Sports are one way to get there, but not the only way.

We try to eat dinner together every night, although my DH just started a new graveyard shift job, so sometimes he is sleeping in the evening. The irony is he is doing that job so that we can always have someone at home with the kids (I work M-F days), and yet I feel like in any situation, something has to give. We do our best, but we never give up our Friday nights.
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Re: Laying the Groundwork - before they are teens

Postby vixx on Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:36 pm

IMO a big part of the problem is freedom. (yes it sounds funny but hear me out)
When we were growing up we had freedom, ie was going with my friends to the mall, etc however we weren't allowed to just "hang out". Yes we could go to the mall. Until I was about 13 my mom or dad drove and picked up. We had to have a reason, ie I need new shoes, soandso needs new jeans. No just going to "hang out"
As we got older if we were caught "hanging out" we were grounded. If we wanted to hang around with our friends we could do that at a house, either ours or theirs.

I have often asked DstepS where he was going and with who and the answer is, I dont' know, I am sure I will meet someone somewhere.
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