Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rebellion

Full Question: What things do you think most helped keep your kids from rebelling during teenage years? If they did rebel, what advice do you have for parents?

Summary:

Faith
"I believe the most important thing to help your kids from rebelling is help give them a relationship with the Savior.  It is easy to get mad at parents and teachers who might have to tell them no or take up their time and attention....The relationship with the Savior and Heavenly Father gives them a place to complain and know they are heard."

Communication
"If we did have any effect, it may have had to do with us not hiding the problems others had because of rebellion, and discussing them.  We had many family members and friends who struggled and those became part of family discussions." "We talked with our kids and LISTENED....It was always hard for them to rebel against reason and understanding. Taking the time to communicate our expectations and understanding our children's point of view made rebellious attitudes disappear." "We tried to minimize upset times by listening and talking and not falling apart if they expressed an opinion that differed from ours."

Power
"I think keeping communication lines open, and allowing our children to make as many of their own decisions as we could, helped to avoid major rebellion." "Our kids say there was never any sense of oppression that they needed to get out from under. So there was no reason to rebel. We were flexible and reasonable....We sincerely respected our kids so there were never ultimatums." "It came down to the fact that he didn’t want to be 'told' what to do.  He wanted to make his own decisions.  When we learned how to talk to him in the way he needed, the issues resolved themselves." "Sometimes it is because kids aren't allowed to have their own opinions without being ridiculed or told that they are wrong and they need to change their opinion."

Positive Attention
"We taught them about the trust bank - complemented them on how great it was that we could trust them.  We noticed the positive things they did - the deposits to build trust (not just the negative things). They say they did not ever want to mess that up." "One child (our oldest) loved to yank my chain just to get a reaction out of me, and he always did get that reaction, until my husband convinced me that it was just what he was after."

Consequences
"Keep the door open....but don't enable the drug use...or sex...or lawbreaking by bailing them out to prove you love them.  Love them by allowing consequences and loving them in spite of their rebellion." "I don’t know if I would consider this fortunate, but we had some of everything, from drug use, illegitimate children, sexual orientation issues, lack of church attendance; you name it, family members or close friends were going through it.  We tried to help our kids see that the choices these people made seriously affected their lives for the worse.  We also tried to help them see that they were still children of God and that we loved them."

Activity
"These activities kept them too tired to go out late at night except for wholesome fun things already planned, like dates, group activities etc....One mother asked us how we keep our kids home at night and we replied that they were too tired at night to get into mischief."

Full Answers:

Anna (and Gerry)
We were very blessed that we didn’t experience much in the way of teenage rebellion—or at least none of a serious nature.  One child (our oldest) loved to yank my chain just to get a reaction out of me, and he always did get that reaction, until my husband convinced me that  it was just what he was after. 

We did learn, however, that for him, it came down to the fact that he didn’t want to be “told” what to do.  He wanted to make his own decisions.  When we learned how to talk to him in the way he needed, the issues resolved themselves. 

One example is when he decided that he no longer wanted to come to our family home evenings….giving me the expected reasons (boring, a waste of time, wanted to be with friends etc.).  I had learned a little more by this time, and I simple told him why we felt it was important, and that the prophet had made us a promise if we had FHE, and then asked him what he would do when he had a family, and his son came to him stating that he no longer wanted to be a part of it.   His answer taught me a lot.  He said, Mom, I will teach my kids what’s right, then I’ll let them make their own decisions.”  So I agreed that I wouldn’t fight him, and that he could make his own decision.  He missed 1 family home evening, and never missed another one.  He wanted to be in control of those decisions, rather than having them made for him.

He came home one day, and announced that he had decided that he wanted an earring.  We handled it the same way, talking about counsel from the prophet etc., but said the decision was up to him.  He never got an earring, but he did get to choose for himself, and that was all he wanted.

Every child is different, and we learned that it is never a “one-size-fits-all” solution.

Mary (and Robert)
I believe the most important thing to help your kids from rebelling is help give them a relationship with the Savior.  It is easy to get mad at parents and teachers who might have to tell them no or take up their time and attention in ways they can get nasty about.  The relationship with the Savior and Heavenly Father gives them a place to complain and know they are heard.  It gives them someone to look to for love without conditions when they are convinced their parents hate them. 

The establishment of this relationship begins in early childhood.  "Jesus loves you" and "Heavenly Father loves you always" should be part of our vocabulary as parents.  When they have that firmly in their hearts they will care what Jesus and Heavenly Father think of their behavior.

I remember in my early teens having my grandmother disappointed with the way I did the dishes.  All she said was, "Oh M....."  I was so sad to have disappointed her.  It changed the way I do dishes to this day.  That's the same kind of feeling I wanted for my children with God.  They need to feel a desire to please them just because they love each other. Ultimately it's giving them a knowledge of something and someone bigger than themselves that they identify as important and worth pleasing.  They need to have that knowledge of what is more important than what they want at the moment.

Abigail (and Martin)
I wish I could take credit for my kids not rebelling, but I think they were just born that way.  When I say not rebelling, however, I am talking about major tings such as drugs, not attending church, sluffing school, criminal behavior, etc.  We had one or two touchy times, generally regarding curfew.  I think that, if we did have any effect, it may have had to do with us not hiding the problems others had because of rebellion, and discussing them.  We had many family members and friends who struggled and those became part of family discussions.  We would talk about their choices and the bad consequences that resulted.  I don’t know if I would consider this fortunate, but we had some of everything, from drug use, illegitimate children, sexual orientation issues, lack of church attendance; you name it, family members or close friends were going through it.  We tried to help our kids see that the choices these people made seriously affected their lives for the worse.  We also tried to help them see that they were still children of God and that we loved them.  Because our children were inherently good, I think knowing about and having people they knew go through bad things, helped them to stay on the straight and narrow.

Rachel (and Bennett)
We did not have any major rebellion in the teenage years, but we did have plenty of stubbornness, and unwillingness to do what we as parents asked.  I think keeping communication lines open, and allowing our children to make as many of their own decisions as we could, helped to avoid major rebellion.

Brianne and Spencer
Our kids say there was never any sense of oppression that they needed to get out from under. So there was no reason to rebel. We were flexible and reasonable. We talked with our kids and LISTENED. This started young and continued - as they got to Jr. High things gradually shifted from - ask permission - to keep us informed. I think it is good that this happened before they could drive because they felt the value of our trust.

We taught them about the trust bank - complemented them on how great it was that we could trust them.  We noticed the positive things they did - the deposits to build trust (not just the negative things). They say they did not ever want to mess that up. And if they called needing an extension on curfew and had good reasons we listened and made reasonable adjustments. We sincerely respected our kids so there were never ultimatums.

Our kids also say they thought we were a bit rebellious - meaning we were not very pious. It was always hard for them to rebel against reason and understanding. Taking the time to communicate our expectations and understanding our children's point of view, made rebellious attitudes disappear.

Jane (and Samuel)
One son said that it was just lucky that when he was upset at us no one offered him any junk. We tried to minimize upset times by listening and talking and not falling apart if they expressed an opinion that differed from ours. I gave backrubs on the living room floor to tired athletes who relaxed and talked a bit about their worries. We went to church, we had family prayer,  we tried to have home evenings with whom ever was availabe. We intermittently had family scripture time. We had some family crises that caused us to "circle the wagons" and help each other. We always had Sunday Dinner and often late night dinners where we sat around the table long after the food was gone and talked.

"If they did rebel, what advice do you have for parents?"  We were blessed with awesome kids who stayed by us and did not rebel. However I have worked with many parents whose children have rebelled. Sometimes rebellion is because parents try to control everything too tightly. Sometimes it is because kids aren't allowed to have their own opinions without being ridiculed or told that they are wrong and they need to change their opinion. Keep the door open....but don't enable the drug use...or sex...or lawbreaking by bailing them out to prove you love them.  Love them by allowing consequences and loving them in spite of their rebellion. 

 

Karen and Lance
The things that kept our children from rebelling during teenage years were pretty simple. They knew we expected them to do certain things and it became part of their lives. They were involved in school activities such as sports teams and cheerleading, a church sponsored, early morning learning experience, and had good friends. These activities kept them too tired to go out late at night except for wholesome fun things already planned, like dates, group activities etc. We were extremely lucky that they were good with this. One mother asked us how we keep our kids home at night and we replied that they were too tired at night to get into mischief.

Next week's question: How did you know how much to provide to or do for your kids without them feeling entitled, especially around birthdays or holidays?

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