Four Steps for Handling Frustration with Teens

Over the past thirty-five years, Between Parent and Child has helped millions of parents around the world strengthen their relationships with their children. Written by renowned psychologist Dr. Haim Ginott, this revolutionary book offered a straightforward prescription for empathetic yet disciplined child rearing and introduced new communication techniques that would change the way parents spoke with, and listened to, their children. Dr. Ginott’s innovative approach to parenting has influenced an entire generation of experts in the field, and now his methods can work for you, too.

In this revised edition, Dr. Alice Ginott, clinical psychologist and wife of the late Haim Ginott, and family relationship specialist Dr. H. Wallace Goddard usher this bestselling classic into the new century while retaining the book’s positive message and Haim Ginott’s warm, accessible voice. Based on the theory that parenting is a skill that can be learned, this indispensable handbook will show you how to:
• Discipline without threats, bribes, sarcasm, and punishment
• Criticize without demeaning, praise without judging, and express anger without hurting
• Acknowledge rather than argue with children’s feelings, perceptions, and opinions
• Respond so that children will learn to trust and develop self-confidence

When your young teen has decided to try his hand at backing the car out of the garage after you’ve told him he’s not ready, and the bumper’s scraped, the bushes have a hole in them, and you’re about to let loose with a barrage of #%$@* that would set fire to ice, stop….take a deep breath….and try this response suggested by psychologist Haim Ginott, in his book Between Parent and Child.

  1. Describe the situation: “Son, you just backed through the bushes.”  sigh   (“Yeah, Dad.”)
  2. Tell how you feel about it: “And I’m really ticked off at you!”
  3. Leave!: “In fact, I don’t know what I’ll do if I stay here. Pull the car back in the driveway, clean up the mess and come into the house.”
  4. By the time he comes in the house you’ll have calmed down and will probably be more able to talk with him about the incident without unnecessarily lecturing, criticizing and degrading him, and will be able to work out a solution. And remember, solutions are best when they are worked out by the child:

  5. “So, what do you think needs to be done about it?”

(“Well, Dad, I think I can pay for the damage out of my pizza shop check next week, and maybe go to the nursery for a new bush, and….okay….ground myself tonight….I’m really sorry.”)

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Benefits of the Changing Family Landscape

It is now estimated that between 17-20% of homes in America are multi-generational.   Increasingly, several generations opt for the financial, social and emotional support that living together affords.

In some cases, grandparents are helping to raise the next generation by moving in with their adult children.  But sometimes it’s the young adult children, now jobless, who are moving back with their parents.

Perhaps this is a real upside to the politically and financially dark landscape that we are in these days.  We need each other!   A benefit to hard times is that we change our perspectives about the glories of being “self-made” and “self-contained.”   Forget the Lone Ranger!

We’re into extended family and community these days.   So get out the board games and fire up the bar-b.   You don’t need expensive restaurants and entertainment when you have a friend at home.

Advice to Help Parents Break the Cycle of Addiction

Here's a book that every adult concerned about kids will want to read. The author convincingly argues that parents are the ones who not only can but also must take the lead in preventing their kids from getting mixed up with alcohol and other drugs. Parenting for Prevention shows them exactly what to do and how to do it. The theme is prevention, but the approach is thoroughly positive. You'll find no threats or warnings here, no long list of don'ts. Instead, this book says, in effect: If you really want to prevent your kids from getting involved with alcohol or other drugs, here's the way to do it. Teach them these life skills. "I make you a promise. If you read this book thoughtfully and follow its recommendations, you'll have new insights into a whole host of everyday parenting problems, as well as practical skills for handling them. Those insights and skills will be the best insurance policy you can take out to prevent your kids from getting into problems with alcohol or other drugs--because you'll be helping them develop into healthy, well-balanced kids who can stand on their own feet, resist unhealthy peer pressures, and still be accepted and respected wherever they go."

There are many good parenting books on the market but one that I frequently return to in my practice – especially for parents of pre-teen and teen children – is “Parenting for Prevention.”   It’s particularly useful for parents who themselves are Adult Children of Alcoholics and who want to make sure they don’t raise another generation of substance abusers.

It is too easy for ACA’s to slip into some enabling behaviors!    But I think this book is a good read for parents of any nearly or clearly adolescent.    Full of common sense and easy to read with almost no “filler” – I think you’ll enjoy the simple “job descriptions” for parents and kids and the advice on how to avoid those “mixed messages”.   It’s cheap at Amazon or you can order it from a local bookstore.

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