Support Teenagers Without Saying I Told You So

father son mechanicsWouldn’t it be nice if your teens listened to everything you told them? They would know that you have had similar experiences and it’s because of this that you really do know what works and doesn’t work.

Countless hours of angst and hundreds of thousands of text messages would be avoided. Life would be simple and idyllic if your kids sailed through the teenage years avoiding the tumultuous maturation process.

You can wake up from your dream now. It will never happen. It simply can’t. Teenagers have to learn things the hard way (just as you did) and it is only through making mistakes and gaining experience that they mature and grow into competent adults.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop telling them what you think or letting them know your opinions on any given matter. It just means that you have to let them make their own final choices and be there for them when things don’t turn out as they expected. You may be thinking it, but it really is never a good idea to say, “I told you so.”

One way to be supportive of your teenagers is to keep the dialogue open with them at all times. You may express your own beliefs and opinions and even insist upon certain rules and morals that are a part of being a member of your family. It is still important to be receptive to your teens’ point of view and allow them the opportunity to express their concerns and oppositions to your own ideas. It is through this expression that they learn to clarify their own beliefs.

Be open to the possibility of compromise. Teens are driven by a sense of fairness and justice. They are more likely to follow a rule or belief that they perceive was fairly created and agreed upon with their input. When teens feel that their opinions matter and their thoughts are respected, they will probably be receptive to your point of view.

Part of being a supportive parent means holding teens accountable for their decisions. They need to face the consequences and live with the repercussions of their actions, but as a supportive parent you will be right by their side as they do so. Supporting a teen’s decision doesn’t always mean agreeing with the choice, but it does mean giving unconditional love and guidance as they face the results of that choice.

Show your teen how to be mature by not gloating when you are prooved correct. Don’t say, “I told you so” even if you did. Your teenager already knows that you did. He or she will figure out own his own that you were right. If you tell him, it will only seem like bragging. Nobody likes a braggart.

The teenage years are a difficult time of learning and living. All teenagers are dealing with an inner conflict between being a child and being an adult. Your job is to let the process happen naturally without trying to control all of the situations. Part of becoming an adult means making your own decisions and living with the consequences of them. This only happens with experience.

Keep talking with your teen and being as supportive as possible. Eventually your teen may just turn to you and say, “You were right. You told me so.”

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