Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Having a hard time getting your teen to do something?:

Tips On How To Deal With Your Teenager
By Expert Tips
Date: November 27 2015
Editor Rating:
Teenagers…what a complicated bunch! Well, sometimes complicated and some other times - to be fair - fascinating, curious and fun. Teenagers are, as we like to define them, ‘human beings under development’. In little words, that is what the teen years are all about: a major process of development that leaves nothing out: the body, mind, social relations, ideas, tastes – all to give shape to a certain personality and identity.  
One of the usual collaterals of this process often appears in the form of higher levels of isolation, periods of ‘alone time’ that can be deepened by technology – ranging from countless Facebook hours to endless videogame plots. Now, personal space and a regular amount of ‘alone time’ are alright and necessary, but being in semi-full isolation hour after hour and day after day is not really the healthiest lifestyle for the developing body and mind. However, you must remember that teenagers didn’t come to earth to follow up orders precisely. So, what to do, how to act?
Teenagers rarely find motivation in orders, so motivation must come in different formats. Deals, humor, involvement, encouragement and recommendations, on the other hand, can go a long way.
Deals are an easy way out of difficult situations: I let you do this if you do that, I provide this in exchange of that other thing. Deals frame a situation in terms of justice, and teens dig that: it feels like recognition.
Involvement, encouragement and recommendations are a bit tougher, but do pay back. For example, let’s say your teen is into Justin Bieber. How can you use this to get your teenage boy or girl to spend time outside?
First of all, you’ll have to do your homework. Get into Bieber’s Instagram, see what he does, what he thinks it’s cool. Now you know he’s into this new piece of technology, the Moonwalker, which is just the perfect gadget to spend time outside – that’s the very nature of the Moonwalker. Next step: get involved. Ask your teenager if he knows what a Moonwalker is. If the answer’s a ‘no’, just drop that you saw Justin Bieber using one and you thought it might be something cool to have. By this point, you’re probably on the winning side: you got Justin Bieber, outside time and involvement all together in an appealing package. If you find resistance – which wouldn’t be absurd at all when talking to a teenager – you’ll always be able to pull out the deal card. You have something that is worth a deal, after all.

This is just an example of how to deal with a teenager when you want him / her to do something that it is not being done – like spending time outside instead of staying inside all day looking at a screen. This initiatives require new parenting efforts to match the sometimes stormy teenage years. But the efforts, when taking the form of involvement and encouragement, are a great way to strengthen the ties between you and your teenager. And this is something that both – teen and parent - will find rewarding at some point during the course of life.
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