Nurturing the Parent Teen Relationship

Focus on your parent teen relationship and less on the teen. Tip: Focus on your parent teen relationship and less on the teen. What does that mean? If you develop a good parent teen relationship (not perfect) but a good relationship with your teen then there’s a high chance they will use that as a template for all their relationships going forward. In other words, if you have a healthy parent teen relationship, they’ll end up having healthy relationships. It’s easy, in theory, just not so easy in practice. What do I mean by focusing on your parent teen relationship?  One: Acting out behavior. I think we all know that acting out behavior is damaging to your relationships. So when your teen does acting out behavior, the key for you is going to put words to your emotions so they can learn how to do that. Instead of shouting at them for the acting out behavior, and making it into a big argument, say, “Excuse me for a second but it sounds like you’re angry about something if you can tell me what you’re angry about without shouting, I might be able to help you.” Kindly and calmly put the words to it.  Same with you, relationships are two-way. If you act out at some point, it’s going to be imperative that you go back to your teen and use the words. We all make mistakes. Go back and say, “Hey, I’m sorry that I yelled at you, what I wanted to say and wish I said is I’m angry that you continue to leave a mess in the kitchen.” Talk through your emotions. Two: Autonomy. You have to respect each other’s autonomy. We can all agree that in a healthy relationship, we respect each other’s autonomy. What does that mean? That means when your child makes a decision, instead of undermining it or taking over, you want to let them have it! There are only two exceptions at this stage: Loss of life or limb, or legal problems. Anything else you let them make the decision, you let them fail at it or succeed, but you let it be theirs. That’s autonomy.  You also have to be autonomous, if you’re the parent who does whatever your child wants, whenever they want, think again. You’re just teaching them how to be someone’s puppet. You have to be honest with your …

Is your teens behavior normal teenage behavior?

What is normal teenage behavior? Parents: Let’s talk about YOU and your emotional well-being. Some parents are overly concerned or continue to be worried about their teenager not being perfect. Despite being told by others that their teen has normal teenage behavior. Or despite being told by a therapist that their teenager is normal; they continue being worried. We call this a defense. Sometimes, people get wrapped up in other people’s problems or concerns as a way to avoid what’s going on within themselves. Typically, this is an emotional issue. Some examples: If you are having trouble grieving the loss of your baby (teen), which is what a teenager highlights for you- the child that you had that is no longer around, it does set up grief within us. Some parents may become overly concerned about their child’s normal teenage behavior. Grief involves sadness and anger. A lot of people have trouble with these emotions. If you’re one of them, then you will be delaying going through that grief. You’ll delay it by getting overly wrapped up in the details of your child. Of course, this isn’t good with the relationship for your child and can set your child up to have emotional or relational problems. That typically happens in people who are raised in families who did not deal with grief well. If your primary relationship with your spouse is damaged, it’s possible you are unconsciously avoiding that by getting wrapped up in what your child is doing while not realizing your child’s behavior is normal teenage behavior. Typically, I see this when there was a problem in the relationship before the children. The children became this great distraction. Especially if you are on the same page as your spouse on how to raise the children, it’s like a shared experience. When that ends, the relationship falls apart or hasn’t gotten any better so, it may be that you are having problems with your spouse that you need to address. If you’re using your kids to fix something between you, that’s certainly not going to work. Turning emotions on yourself. Turning emotions on yourself is another way for people who cannot express emotions well. An example of this include: chronic worrying or being overly concerned about their child’s normal teenage behavior. We’re all concerned about our kids but, if it goes on to the point where you aren’t doing …

Worried About Your Teenagers’ Disrespectful Behavior?

What do you do with your teenagers’ disrespectful behavior? This disrespectful behavior may not be a sign of sociopath or narcissist behavior because it’s a way of separating, and it’s normal teenage behavior. But, you may be wondering how do you keep the behavior from spinning out of control; that way, they don’t become a narcissist or sociopath. The answer is: YOU HAVE TO CHANGE. My patients who are parents often make the same mistake, which is they try to change their child. “You can’t talk that way; you’re being nasty, you can’t be rude.” The problem with this is, it’s just telling them how to behave. How do we all respond to that? We don’t like to be told what to do, and neither does your teenager, it’s not going to work. Remember, the emotional goal for your teenager to not be a sociopath or narcissist is to be able to express their emotions well — especially anger, sadness, and neediness. What I mean by changing yourself is you have to express anger, sadness, and neediness and be a role model, instead of telling your child what to do. Examples: Let’s say your child is name-calling. Stop them immediately and say, “It’s hurtful when you use name-calling when you’re talking to me, I can’t even hear what you are saying. I’m going off to the garage, if you can tell me this later without the name-calling, I’d be glad to listen.” Let’s say your child is shouting. You can say, “It really irritates me when you’re shouting at me. It makes it very hard for me to hear what you are saying. I’m going off to the kitchen if you can say this without shouting I’d be glad to listen.” I was talking to a parent, and he was doing a favor by picking up his child from the bus that way, his child did not have to take the dreaded bus. His child was using provocative language, and he felt like the child was trying to get under his skin by saying things that were personally offensive to him. So, the next time he could say, “I’m not going to pick you up from school anymore because it is very upsetting to me. I need to have a car ride home that does not involve this provocative language, So I will not be picking you up from school …

How Not to Raise a Child Sociopath or Narcissist

 How Not to Raise a Child Sociopath or Narcissist This is a question I get all of the time. How not to raise a child sociopath or narcissist. Because teenagers can look like they’re sociopaths or narcissists, but they’re healthy teens. So what’s the difference? To start, we need to understand what a sociopath and narcissist are. If we don’t fully understand this, we’re not going to be able to avoid it or avoid raising a child sociopath or narcissist. These terms have been in the news a lot, and we in psychology have them under the umbrella of personality disorder. It’s a terrible phrase, I know, but that’s the phrase we use. Personality disorders have many different forms, 2 of them which are sociopaths and narcissist. So what’s at the heart of that? People with personality disorders can’t do relationships. Some people actually can’t tolerate relationships, but they want them terribly. It’s an awful dilemma for them, and most of this is unconscious. What you’ll see is they can’t tolerate closeness, and they can’t tolerate distance. And those two things are kind of at the poles of all healthy relationships. What do I mean by that? If you’re healthy and in a healthy relationship, what that means is you’re getting close, and you’re getting distant, you’re getting close, and you’re getting distant. Let’s say you have a girlfriend, you see her, and you have a great time, and then you don’t see her, and you do other things, all healthy relationships are like that.  They Can’t Tolerate Closeness or Distance for Very Long What happens with a narcissist or sociopath, is they can’t tolerate closeness for very long because it feels like being taken over. So to them, closeness starts feeling like being invaded, being taken over, being eliminated; it becomes a terrible feeling for them. Just like distancing becomes an awful feeling for them because it feels like abandonment, a terrible loss.  Both of these feel like extremes to the personality disorder patients, so they avoid them. And how they avoid them is by wiggling around in the middle; instead of doing close and distancing they’re getting close and then doing something to break the closeness such as arguing, cheating, lying, attacking- whatever it is, they got to get away, and they do, but they can’t stay away. After they’re apart, it starts to feel like a …

Poor Parenting and The Dynamics Behind it

Poor Parenting and The Dynamics Behind it If you think the scariest hood to be in is Parenthood, then you’re right, but there’s a way to make Parenthood a little less scary. A lot of people ask for parenting advice or have parenting questions and poor parenting concerns. This is not just me as a psychiatrist, talking to you, I’m also a parent, and I really believe that parents help parents. Parenting isn’t about a checklist of how to do something right. It’s hard to know when you’ve gone off course, and, if you’re off course, it’s hard to know how to get back on course. If parents help each other out, then we’re helping our whole community and our entire society. I do have adult kids, and I can empathize greatly. I have been through a lot of the struggles that you’ve been through with my patients, my clients, and in my personal life. What are the dynamics behind poor parenting? We hear different names such as a helicopter parent, snowplow parent, and I have a phrase I’ve used for a long time called tractor-trailer parents.  There is a lot of people who are afraid they are one of those parents or worried they’re going to become one of those parents. I always start any session or any treatment by stating, if you understand why poor parenting is happening, then you can stop it. It’s important to understand what’s going on, to see the patterns behind the poor parenting, and to come to realize it’s not what you want to be doing. If you don’t understand the patterns, the dynamics,  and what’s going on underneath; it’s a lot less likely you’re going to figure out what’s wrong and where to go that’s better. The dynamics of the controlling parent The dynamics of the controlling parent, in general, this is the issue here. It’d be easy to say controlling parents are control freaks. That’s part of it because nobody likes to feel out of control and certainly parents don’t want to feel out of control. Parents may fear if they’re losing control, that’s making them a bad parent. Parents are, by definition in control when their kids are not. So it makes sense that control plays a role in all these different parenting issues or problems. It’s not just a lack of loss of control that parents are fighting when …