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Nag, nag, nag

Do you find yourself nagging, prodding, poking and yelling at your teenager? I've been guilty as charged.

We need to remember that as our kids grow into adults, they are trying to discover their identity. It is natural for them to resist us as they go through this discovery process.

One thing is certain if you give your teen constant criticism, we are headed for trouble in our relationship. I realize as parents we don't mean to criticize. We just want the job done. We want to train. We want the best from them. As our teens develop, our relationship with them also must develop and change. Our goal now is to help them think on their own, solve problems and manage their own emotions. This is part of how we train them to launch themselves into the world.

Mark Gregson states this truth, "And if your home becomes a place of constant negative criticism, the resulting insecurity in your teenager will either crush their spirit or hyper-inflate their longing for acceptance by others. In other words, they will find someone (often a teen of the opposite sex) or a group of their peers who will not criticize them. But those who offer them unconditional acceptance also tend to be those who are themselves disenfranchised–in other words, the kind of kids who can become a bad influence."

So, how can we navigate this new territory?

1. Pause and control your tongue.

2. Speak with gentleness and respect

3. Encourage more than we criticize-begin to notice and point out the areas that they are growing, maturing, or the ways they demonstrated wise thinking. Don't let those moments go unnoticed.

4. Ask questions and engage them in the critical thinking process.

5. Give up the sarcasm; it builds walls, not relationships.

What other ways have worked for you?

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