Parenting Your Teenager: 4 Dangerous Myths

MYTH: All teens have to rebel, and the teen years will be miserable years for a family.

REALITY: Teens do have to separate from their parents and families. That's good - otherwise kids would be living at home when they are 35.

They do, however, have to earn the privilege of being in charge.

MYTH: Once teens rebel, you have lost them forever.

REALITY: This is the fear of every parent, but it doesn't happen in most cases. As the proverb says, "Raise up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it."

Two very important factors are implied here:

1) At some point, it is likely they could "depart" from what you have taught, and

2) they will come back to it.

This notion is elaborated on in Miller Newton's book "Adolescence: Surviving the Perilous Journey." Miller calls this notion Withdrawal - Isolation - Re-emergence. His view is that all adolescents withdraw, and some will go so far as to isolate themselves. They will, however, re-emerge at some point. Part of the parents' job then is to maintain the connection so a relationship can exist when they re-emerge.

MYTH: Raising teens is easy if you do it right.

REALITY: If you listen to some so-called parenting experts, raising kids - even teens - is a walk in the park.

According to them, the only reason you are having difficulty is because you are doing it wrong (not like them, in other words).

The reality is that parenting is a labor-intensive task. In order to raise kids and teach moral character, you have to go against the prevailing culture.

MYTH: Your teen years were just like those of your teen-ager.

REALITY: Many of the character issues they are dealing with are very much like the ones you faced. But the world, atmosphere and culture in which they are dealing with these issues is incredibly different. Don't make the mistake of thinking it's all the same.

Leading parenting expert Jeff Herring is a teen and family therapist, parenting coach, speaker and syndicated parenting and relationship columnist. Jeff invites you to visit ParentingYourTeenager.com for 100's of tips and tools for parenting through the teenage years. You can also subscribe to his free weekly internet newsletter "ParentingYourTeenager."

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