Monthly Archives: July 2014

Are you worried about your tween turning into one of those scary teens? Are you tired of fighting with you teens? Are you interested in establishing a respectful and sustainable relationship with your teen or tween?  Are you willing to make some changes? Welcome to slow parenting teens.  We have a plan for creating calm, fun, and satisfying relationships with your tweens and teens.

Our culture tells us that the teenage years are real trouble, that they are the worst, and that teens are impossible. Teens are moody, unpredictable, unreliable, disrespectful, and unconcerned about anyone but themselves. We don’t think so. Their physiology is changing, and often parents are convinced that they will be lucky to manage their teens’ behavior and keep them alive until they are 18.  But what is really happening is that teens are pushing against parents’ fears and expectations in a new, stronger way. Parents need to adapt.

Teens are significantly more autonomous, their friends are often more important than family, and parents have less information about their social lives.  You may be able to call them on their cell phones, but you don’t know that they are where they say they are.  They have more freedom; you have less control.  These changes trigger any parent’s fears.  Since you can’t really manage their behavior, you need to manage your fears.  That is the first step in adapting.

When parents are unwilling to adapt, they parent from the fast end of the continuum.  They have a relationship with their teens that is shut down, defensive, secretive, argumentative, and angry. And they are exhausted. This is fast parenting.

To more toward slow parenting teens, parents must answer the question, “What are you afraid of?”  When parents answer this question fully and honestly, they move toward the slow end of the parenting continuum.  They move beyond what they fear for their teens and own that they are afraid of for themselves.  They discover how teen’s behavior brings up fears for themselves.  With that understanding, parents are able to be more thoughtful about their relationship with their teens. Slow parenting teens shows parents how to know what is going on with their teens. These parents talk with their teens, their teens value their parents’ opinions, these parents look forward to spending time with their teens, and these parents trust their teen’s judgment.

In a nutshell, fast parenting is about the parents’ agenda, and it is motivated by their fears; slow parenting is about the teenagers’ development, and it is motivated by complete acceptance of the teen.  In fast parenting, the parents have the authority, make the decisions, and confer judgments. In slow parenting, parents and children discuss, ask questions, experiment, and revise their ideas. Fast parenting focuses on the situation at hand, and slow parenting focuses on long term relationships.  Fast parenting is reactive; slow parenting is patient and responsive. Fast parenting tends to be punitive; slow parenting tends to be supportive. Fast parents fit parenting into their schedule; slow parents arrange their schedule around their parenting.  Slow parenting is a positive response to the epidemic of fast parenting.

Slow parenting teens is about more than time management; it requires a change of attitude.  After some soul searching questions to get at your fears and true motivators in parenting, you will be ready to apply five attitudes to your relationship with your teens.  The result will be a calmer, happier, and more satisfying relationship for you and your teen. As Joy V.  from Colorado put it, “Slow parenting has shown me that if  I want a closer relationship with my teenagers, I have to go inward and listen to my own fears so that I don’t project them on my teens.”

Marti Woodward has a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling. She is a single mom of three, teen-aged girls.She worked in the field of adolescent addictions as well as designed and implemented a family program for at-risk adolescents. Marti has trained executives and supervisors and facilitated workshops for a variety of organizations. As a coach, Marti has continued to specialize in adolescent and family issues. Molly Wingate brings to Slow Parenting Teens, her practice as a parent and an educator. Molly co-parents her two, teen-aged sons with her husband, Brian Murphy. They have a two-career, two-station wagon, traditional, nuclear family. She taught high school and college students (all teenagers) for over twenty years before starting a writing consulting business. She has a B.A.and M.A. in English literature. Both of them are a collaborator in Parent eSource.

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