PARENTS MUST MAKE TIME FOR THEIR REBELLIOUS TEENS
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY with Dr. James Dobson
Question: Teenage rebellion has hit our home at last. My 15-year-old son’s rotten attitude just went from bad to worse! How do I get him through the “rapids” of adolescence without rocking the boat any more than absolutely necessary?
DR. DOBSON: First of all, you need to recognize that the trial you’re facing is “common to man.” Adolescent revolt is hormonally driven and occurs in the best of families. When hostility and rebellion begin to appear, how do you keep your boys (and girls) from blowing up and doing something stupid?
I’ve addressed that subject in the past, but let me offer a recent finding that I haven’t shared before. The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health surveyed 11,572 teenagers to determine which factors were most helpful in preventing harmful behavior, such as violence, suicide, substance abuse, early sexual behavior and teen pregnancy.
Here’s what the researchers found: The presence of parents is beneficial at four key times of the day –– early morning, after school, dinnertime and bedtime. When that regular contact is combined with other shared activities between parents and kids, the most positive outcome is achieved. The researchers also observed that adolescents who felt a sense of connection with their parents (feelings of warmth, love and caring) were least likely to engage in harmful behavior.
Some of my readers might be asking, “How can I be with my teenagers morning, noon and night? I have altogether too much work to do.” Well, you simply have to decide what is most important to you at this time. It won’t matter as much a few years down the road, but your availability right now could make the difference for your child between surviving or plunging off the cliff.
Dr. Dobson is founder and Chairman Emeritus of the nonprofit organization Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80995 (www.focusonthefamily.org). Questions and answers are excerpted from “Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide” and “Bringing Up Boys,” both published by Tyndale House.
COPYRIGHT 2010 JAMES