Have you got a teenager who rolls their eyes? Does it annoy you? Then you wouldn’t be alone! A recent study by researcher John Gottman indicates that there are certain behaviours that are evident in couples heading for divorce. Be careful your teen isn’t learning their behaviour from you! Eye-rolling, name calling and sarcasm were particularly damaging to relationships. While those behaviours seem to be mainly characteristic of those in the teenage years, they show up in unhealthy relationships. As parents, you can help your teenagers learn how to express themselves in a positive manner and deal with disagreements without mud-slinging. If you consider what Dr Emerson Eggerichs says in his book Love & Respect about how important these factors are in relationships then it seems logical that where there is disrespect there is dysfunction. You are raising your teenagers to become Godly adults, adults who will be prepared to do life well. That means as a parent you must be being willing to challenge their behaviours and help them develop Godly character. So how do you go about it?
5 Things You Can Do
- Eliminate name-calling, sarcasm, eye-rolling etc. from your own behaviour. You are not a child you are an adult. As an adult learn how to communicate with your spouse and model correct communication to your teens. In addition. speak to them with respect and don’t be hypocritical in your expectations.
- Never mimic! I found myself mimicking our kids. My intention was to try and help them hear what they sounded like. My intentions were good, but the results never were. There was one simple reason I was actually damaging the communication by acting in contempt. https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-four-horsemen-contempt/
- Be willing to listen. If you want to teach your teens how to have a healthy relationship, give them equal microphone time. If you want them to listen to you, make sure you also listen to them.
- Be willing to teach. As a parent don’t just give your teen a list of ‘do nots’ it’s important to explain why you are going to be helping them get better at communicating. ‘Stop that’ isn’t going to get the reaction you’re looking for. When you get a non-confrontational time with them explain that you aren’t correcting them because you don’t like them rolling their eyes, you’re training them to have healthy relationships and communicate well.
- Forgive and ask forgiveness. If you have been guilty of the same behaviour you are trying to change in your teens confess it to them and make it a policy to help each other.
by Lainey Hitchman
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