Advice for parents with teens: health & safety vs. partying with their friends

Learn about: Advice for parents with teens: health & safety vs. partying with their friends from Ross W. Greene, PhD,...
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Advice for parents with teens: health & safety vs. partying with their friends

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A lot of adults feel that if their concern is related to safety and health then their concern does trump the child's concerns. And I do not agree. Let's take a few examples. Let's take an adolescent example to begin with. And adolescent wants to go to a party. That's actually a solution, not a concern. The adult, the parent, is concerned about what's going to be going on at that party and wants to be sure that the child is safe. That's a little bit of a solution, a little bit of a concern. If we treat it like the following: I'm going to the party. You're not going to the party - we are now involved in a power struggle. And it's not going to be pretty, because now we're engaged in the activity of trying to figure out who's got the power. But if we are willing to treat the child's concerns as legitimate and find out what they actually are, you want to go to the party. Help me understand what you mean. Well, all of my friends are going to be there. I didn't have any friends last year. I have friends this year. I want to fit in with this group. They're not as bad as you think they are. They're all going to be at the party. And I really want to go. Now we have a bit more of a sense of the adolescent's concerns. Let's hear what the parent's concerns would sound like. Well I know some of the kids who are going to be at that party. And I am concerned about some of the things that may be going on at the party and what things they may be trying to entice you to do. So I am concerned that if you go to the party, then you are going to be put into situations that have you not being safe. Now let's hear what the invitation would sound like. I wonder if there's a way for you to hang out with your friends at the party but for me to feel some sense of assurance that you are going to be safe and make good decisions while you're there. And now we're talking. Now we are no longer in a power struggle. And while health and safety are extremely important, that concern doesn't trump the kids' concerns most of the time. We can actually work this out in a way that works for both of us.

Learn about: Advice for parents with teens: health & safety vs. partying with their friends from Ross W. Greene, PhD,...

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Ross W. Greene, PhD

Psychologist, Author & Researcher

Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., is the author of the well-known books The Explosive Child and Lost at School, and the originator of a model of care (now known as Collaborative & Proactive Solutions) emphasizing collaboration between kids and adults in resolving the problems contributing to children’s behavioral challenges.  He is also associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, on the professional staff at the Cambridge Hospital, adjunct associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech, and senior lecturer in the graduate program in school psychology in the Department of Education at Tufts University.  Dr. Greene founded the non-profit Lives in the Balance to provide free, web-based resources on his model and to advocate on behalf of behaviorally challenging kids and their parents, teachers, and other caregivers.  He lectures widely throughout the world and lives in Portland, Maine, with his wife and two kids.

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