web analytics
July 6, 2015 / 19 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Controlling Your Teenager


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Control

As children move from infancy into middle and later childhood, they have a growing need for control over their environment. To meet this need, teenagers must be given reasonable power to make choices about what they eat, whom they play with, and what extracurricular activities they participate in. They need to be given the opportunity to make choices that they view as important in different areas in their lives.  Parents can find many ways to safely empower teens without allowing them to make dangerous choices.  Teens can make safe choices when buying clothing, planning family trips, or selecting their birthday presents.  Most of the time the significance of the choices does not matter; even small decisions can make a difference and allow them to feel that they can fulfill their desire for control in a healthy way. Whether to eat chocolate or vanilla ice cream, what time to have a get together, or which days are best for a family outing are equally important.  Although some choices seem inconsequential, what matters is the overall feeling teenagers will have when given the power to choose.

I once counseled family whose oldest child had trouble sitting for a long period of time at the Shabbos table.  As the first born, he seemed to have a strong desire for control and felt too old to be sitting with his younger brothers and sisters. I suggested to his father that he make his son a partner in running the Shabbos meal and turning over some responsibility, such as giving out treats to the other children for good behavior.  Almost immediately, this teenager felt empowered at the table and was more willing to participate and enjoy the family experience. He was provided a way to fulfill his need for control in a healthy manner, which reduced the power struggle at the table that had been going on for some time.

Control may also be given in return for a teen accepting increased responsibility. Here are some suggestions for safe levels of control parents can allow their teenager:

 

  • For teenagers who want to use the car: Make a list of necessary maintenance activities, like buying gas, changing the oil, and checking the pressure in the tires. Explain that when you see that they are responsible for taking care of the car, you will discuss ways of letting them use it more often.

 

  • For teenagers who want to buy their own things: Open a bank account with them and set target dates for saving money to buy the items they want.  You can also deposit an allowance into the account on a weekly basis according to their behavior in the home.

 

  • For teenagers who want to have more fun outside the house: Make a list of chores around the house that they are responsible for.  Reward their performance monetarily or by taking them to do fun things.

 

  • For teenagers who want to buy a lot of clothing: Create a monthly clothing allowance, a budget, and a list of prices of the clothing they want to buy.

 

  • For teenagers who don’t like school and want to work: Arrange for an after-school internship in a local business or profession.

 

  • For teenagers who don’t like eating with the family: Buy an easy cookbook and have them make a weekly menu of the foods they prefer.   They can also help cook the meals they have chosen.

 

When parents empower teenagers with a healthy modicum of control, they are giving them the strength to step into the adult world and take responsibility for their own actions.

 

Relationship Test

How often do you give your teenager the opportunity to make his or her own choices?

1           2        3         4         5

Never  Rarely         Constantly

 

 

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is the Executive Director of Shalom Task Force and author of “At Risk – Never Beyond Reach” and “First Aid for Jewish Marriages.” To order a copy, visit www.JewishMarriageSupport.com. For more information about Shalom Task Force, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org. You can e-mail questions to him at rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, treating Anxiety and Depression, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Brooklyn. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com, email rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com or call 646-428-4723.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Controlling Your Teenager”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Rings with Islamic State slogans on them.
Shin Bet Foils ISIS Terror Cell in Negev Bedouin Town
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

Orlando was once a place where people came only to visit and vacation. Now it is home to a burgeoning Torah community, a place Jewish families can be proud to call home.

Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

You’re not seeking perfection. You’re seeking a life that an average person can manage and feel good about. Don’t feel pressure to change everything at once.

South-Florida-logo

The smuggler’s life has been changed forever. He is faced with a major criminal charge. He will probably be sent to prison.

book-Culture-Shock

In Culture Shock, readers will also come to identify with a culture from the other end of Orthodox Jewry’s spectrum.

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Executive Function Disorder (EFD) have trouble keeping themselves organized and on-task.

Our Sages have told us exactly how we should act – and how our children should act – in Pirkei Avos, Ethics of the Fathers.

A second supposed difficulty actually becomes a reason to corroborate that Amestris is Esther.

I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other.

“Thanks to a local philanthropist who shares our core mission, we now are able to connect more Jewish teens to Israel than ever before,” said Todd Cohn, executive director of Southern NCSY.

In September 2013 he was appointed head rabbi of the IDF Central Command and is currently in charge of special projects for the IDF chief rabbinate.

How efficient to kill two birds with one stone – or booking. Actually three birds, since I invited a man I had commiserated with while waiting my turn to join me.

My children encouraged me to date and even set me up with a very special man.

Last month we outlined how a few years after Judah Touro’s death a public movement was inaugurated by the citizens of New Orleans to erect a monument to his memory, and that opposition to this tribute came from a number of rabbis throughout the country who claimed that Judaism forbade the erection of any graven […]

Marceau suggested a dark reason for his wordless art: “The people who came back from the [concentration] camps were never able to talk about it…. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”

More Articles from Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch
Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

A compulsion is a repetitive action. But what underlies the compulsion is an obsession or fear.

Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Teens-at-risk feel alienated from their parents and often believe that no one is interested in hearing about their problems.

Separation anxiety disorder is a condition in which a child becomes fearful and nervous when away from home or separated from a loved one – usually a parent or other caregiver – to whom the child is attached.

I try to focus on the parents in a way that is not often addressed. As soon as the child gets anxious, the parent gets anxious;

Most people are not aware that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).

Parental conflict affects children in varying ways, depending on their age. For example, teenagers around the age of fifteen or sixteen are most likely to involve themselves in their parents’ battles. Younger children may keep their feelings hidden inside and may only show signs of depression in late childhood or early adolescence.

When parents come to talk to me about a troubled child or teenager, I often find it helpful to explore whether or not their marriage is causing their teenager to be at risk.

Active listening is only one part of the marriage equation; learning what to say and what not to say is the other half. And, it’s not just about expressing your feelings, but doing it in a way that avoids hurting the other person.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/controlling-your-teenager/2010/02/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: