Ask teenagers what they think of school, and these are some of the answers they will give you:
“The teachers are mean and don’t understand me.” “You don’t get to sit next to your friends.” “I am always singled out and punished, but I didn’t do it.” “The teacher hates me and I hate him.” “Lunch is too short, classes are too long, and recess is never long enough.” “There’s too much homework.”
Now you know more about just who those gremlins are who have captured your teenager. You also know that the gremlins will return your child in a few years. The question is, how are you going to deal with the situation now, while you are waiting?
In the following weeks, we will look at ways of dealing with your teenager’s inner issues, how to develop a relationship of mutual respect, how to decide which problems you should or shouldn’t respond to, and how to encourage your teenager to make positive choices in his or her life.
Improve the quality of your relationship with your teenager. Identify your parenting values and goals and modify them for a teenager at risk. Learn about the common issues your teenager may be facing. Realize that many teenage problems subside and therefore you will do best to focus on the long-term development of the relationship.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.