web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Relationship Centered Parenting


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Building a relationship with your children is often one of the most overlooked aspects of parenting teenagers; yet clearly, as the evidence suggests, the relationship is key to managing a teenager’s at-risk behavior and restoring confidence in the family unit.

Similar conclusions were reached by two other studies:  a Columbia University study in September 2002, found that “isolation from parents make affluent students more likely to become depressed, and to smoke, drink and abuse drugs,” and a National Institute on Drug Abuse 1999 study showed that “Family-focused programs have been found to significantly reduce all the major risk domains and increase protective processes” and that “even those [families] with indicated ‘hard-core’ problems can benefit from family-strengthening strategies.”

To corroborate the findings of these studies, I asked a group of high school juniors and seniors at a well-known Jewish day school what they felt were the most important issues teens face.  These were the students’ answers according to their own ranking, starting with the most important:

 

  • Disappointment and anger with parents.
  • Dislike of teachers.
  • The intense desire to be accepted and fit in with friends.
  • The desire to be adults and the fact that they were still under their parents’ control.
  • The internal pressures of trying to develop and act on personal values as         opposed to those of parents and friends.
  • The powerful forces of media encouraging experimentation with sex and alcohol.
  • The enormous physical and psychological changes that occur during this time of  their of lives.

 

Surprisingly, issues like physical changes, peer pressure, and drug use were placed low on the students’ list, whereas the issues of poor relationships with their parents and teachers were ranked highest. In general, these teenagers seemed alienated from their parents and felt that their teachers had somehow let them down.

All this information can help parents realize that the cause of their teenager’s problems is not necessarily “out there” in the world.  Often the source of conflict exists within the boundaries of the relationships teenagers have with their parents, teachers and friends. Finding ways of deepening the relationship with their teenagers is therefore an important step parents can take to help ameliorate at-risk behavior. The more parents invest in their relationship with their teenager, the greater chance they will have in making a positive and lasting impression in their lives as well.

 

Investing In Your Relationship

In many ways, investing in an emotional relationship with a teenager is similar to building a solid financial investment. A wise investment is great preparation for your future, and the formula works for teenagers in exactly the same way – the more you put in, the more you can take out. However, any good investment must be carefully planned; time, discipline, and patience are required for you to actually see the fruits of your efforts.

A relationship that has been invested in is one that can endure the many trials and tribulations of adolescence.  It’s there for you when the going gets tough. So when you need to dig into your investment prematurely, it’s waiting for you.

My wife and I try to schedule time alone together with each of our older children at least once a week. Recently, we even started making “dates” with each of our children to go out and have a good time together. Sometimes we go to a restaurant to eat or take a walk.  Sometimes we go for a soda at the local convenience store. When life gets hectic and time is limited, I usually spend time reading to or just talking privately with one of my children. Most importantly, during our dates I never talk about homework or behavior problems. We just talk about matters that they think are important.

It really doesn’t matter what you do or what you talk about during your private times together.  What matters is that you give your teenager a feeling that he or she is the most important person in the world. These moments of relationship building give parents the opportunity to develop the kind of personal connection they need to help their teenagers navigate through the turbulent waters of their adolescence.

Although parents often try to force their teenagers to behave the way they expect them to, in the long run, it’s not the pressure that parents exert that makes a difference. It’s the overall relationship built on a strong sense of friendship that helps teens develop self-esteem and confidence. Self-esteem then becomes a springboard that can help teenagers solve even the most difficult problems.

 

Examining Your Parental Values

Imagine a flowing river that is exerting a certain amount of pressure on a levee.  Suddenly, without warning a hurricane brings massive amounts of rain placing 50 percent more pressure on the dam.  Without an equal amount of stabilizing force being applied to the dam, it won’t be able to withstand the new level of pressure against it, and it faces the risk of breaking apart.

About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, LMFT is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, treating anxiety and depression, and helping teens in crisis with offices For more information visit www.JewishMarriageSupport.com, e-mail 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 “Relationship Centered Parenting”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
You are looking at an "armed insurgent" and not a terrorist, according to the White House.
Obama Wins War on Terror By Saying It Doesn’t Exist [video]
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

The musical production was beautifully performed by the middle school students.

South-Florida-logo

Greige offered a post of her own. She said, “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel.” She contends that she was photobombed.

South-Florida-logo

This year, 40 couples were helped. The organization needs the support of the extended Jewish community so that it can continue in its important work.

In the introduction to the first volume, R. Katz discusses the Torah ideal, arguing that the Torah’s laws are intended to craft the perfect man and are not to be regarded as ends unto themselves.

A highlight of the evening was the video produced by the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center on the legendary Agudah askan Reb Elimelech (Mike) Tress, a true Jewish hero.

Until recently his films were largely forgotten, but with their release last year on DVD by Re:Voir Video in Paris they are once again available.

Though the CCAR supported the Jewish right to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael, it strenuously objected to defining Palestine as the Jewish homeland.

“Well, you are also part of this class! If someone drills a hole in the boat, the boat will ultimately sink, and even the innocent ones will perish as well. The whole class must be punished!”

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

I find his mother to be a difficult person and my nature is to stay away from people like that.

Here are some recipes to make your Chag La’Illanot a festive one.

Does standing under the chuppah signal the end of our dream of romance and beautiful sunsets?

We aren’t at a platform; we are underground, just sitting there.

More Articles from Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch
Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

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

Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

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.

Control may be the most destructive force influencing a marriage. Let me illustrate this point with the following story. About two years ago a woman named Bracha, 47, came to speak to me about her husband’s controlling behavior. This is how she described her precarious situation:

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/relationship-centered-parenting/2009/12/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: