By: Jasmine Yates
Do you have a teenager? Are they driving you up the wall? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you’re in luck! Way To Parent had the opportunity to speak with Brittany Dent who is a teacher, mother, pastor’s wife and most importantly a coach for teens and parents of teens.
Brittany’s work was influenced by her business coach who suggested that she start a non-profit for teenage girls. Ironically this has always been a dream of her’s, because she has always wanted to be the person that she needed, when she was younger. Brittany didn’t want to stop at just helping teens, she knew the major part that parents played in their teens’ lives, so she decided to extend her work to parents, by giving them a better understanding in ‘Raising Their Teens’.
Here’s a recap of our interview with Brittnay.
There is nothing more aggravating and disruptive than a teenager having an ATTITUDE!
Jasmine: How do you deal with the “attitude” of your teenager?
Brittany: Teenager attitudes go through cycles and always stem from something deeper. The way to deal with the attitude of your teenager is to try to determine the underlying cause of the attitude. Most times, the teenage attitude parents are struggling with is the negative attitudes that cause teenagers to talk back and show mannerisms and body language that are perceived as disrespectful. One way to deal with this is by using statements versus questions when trying to get to the root of the negative attitude. For example, instead of saying “What’s wrong with you?” or “What’s your problem?” say, “I see something is wrong with you today.” or “I see you’re not in the mood.” These statements will leave room for open ended and calmer responses. Also, speak quieter than you normally do when reprimanding or scolding your teenager for a disrespectful attitude. It works better than yelling.
We have all experienced the disobedient stages in our life that sometimes made our parents want to knock us upside the head (and most times did), so it’s a struggle knowing when to listen and when to take action.
Jasmine: How do you know when to discipline your teenager and when to just speak to them?
Brittany: There are so many types of discipline. Every teenager is different just as every child is different from birth. Discipline as far as punishment must be tailored to each child in your life. For example, my oldest child can get a spanking and not care about changing her behavior. However, if a privilege is taken away, she is more likely to change her behavior to earn back whatever was taken. My middle child on the other hand rarely needs a spanking. Putting her in time out will send her into a frenzy and she will want to try to change her behavior. My third child, I am still learning what deters his misbehaviors. You will know when to punish your child by getting to know your child first. The goal though should be proactive discipline in the form of training and instructing your child how to behave so that punitive discipline is needed infrequently.
Jasmine: How can a parent develop a comfortable space that will allow their teen to be open with them?
1.) Lead by example. Open up to them, allow yourself to be able to embrace your own past and have the courage to be as “real” as possible with them.
2.) Have deep conversations. Take time to have annoying lectures while in the car or when you guys are cooking etc.
Lastly, this may be the most important….
3.) Listen to them when they decide to open up to you. Remain calm no matter what they come to you with.
What is it with teenagers and their PHONES?!
Jasmine: How do you get your teenager to participate in family gatherings?
Brittany: To get your teenager to participate in family gatherings you set it as the expectation. I highly believe in choice but everything should not be optional. Put the family gatherings on the family calendar and let the expectation be known. Be considerate of your teenagers’ work schedules or extracurricular activities when planning family gatherings. Also, setting a standing tradition makes the expectation easier. For example, in my household we have Frozen Fridays. My household knows every Friday we will make time to have ice cream or froyo or smoothies together. You only have approximately 260 Saturdays with your child from the time they are born to the time they turn 18. Saturdays are important because most families have work or school Monday through Friday. You have to make the Saturdays count and develop meaningful family gatherings before it’s too late.
Learn your teens’ LOVE LANGUAGE.
Jasmine: How do you gather a better understanding of your teenager when it comes to the different fads of today?
Brittany: To gather a better understanding of your teenager when it comes to fads of today you really need to pay close attention to what they say, what they wear and the things they read and watch. Listen to the radio station that they like so you can hear what is trending. Watch their favorite tv shows and spend time with them around their friends. You can also communicate with other parents or with life coaches, teachers, guidance counselors, therapists, etc. One segment of my live workshops is about trends, fads, and slang. The difficult part for parents is realizing how quick the fads change but it is possible to keep up if you try.
Allow your teen to fly…just a LITTLE.
Jasmine: How do you give your teenager a taste of independence without letting it go too far?
Brittany: Just as each teen is different, each family is different as well. You can provide your teen with a sense of choice and independence. As long as you’re being mindful of who they are with and what they will be doing, it is okay to allow your teen to spread their wings. I am big on not giving teenagers too much freedom without adult supervision but give them a chance to spend time away from you in increments but maintain systems for knowing where they are and who they are with.
WayToParent encourages parents to seek a life coach, therapist, guidance counselor, social worker, mentor etc. You also have the option of speaking to Britney Dent one on one or virtually if desired. If she doesn’t have the tools or expertise she’s willing to send you in the direction of a person who does. So let’s not create anymore stress in your life but instead learn how to Raise Your Teen.
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