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-   -   Workshop #9 Adolescence (http://www.mothering.com/forum/448-natural-family-living-workshops/1009706-workshop-9-adolescence.html)

JessicaS 12-08-2008 04:02 AM

Workshop #9 - Adolescence.

Welcome to our Ninth Natural Family Living discussion: Adolescence; This discussion will key in on
Part 5 – Family Matters from Peggy O’Mara’s book Natural Family Living.


Some of the topics we'll discuss are;


Chapter 16 - Adolescence

The Kids Are All Rright
  • Teens: The prophets and scapegoats of society
  • The struggle toward adulthood
  • The rules have changed


What Teens Need From Parents
  • Availability
  • Empathy
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Friendship
  • Interest
  • Appreciation
  • High standards
  • A good example
  • Support
  • Time and space alone
  • A thick skin
  • A connection to the adult world


How to Talk to a Teen
  • Listen openly
  • Listen actively
  • Avoid threats and accusations
  • Avoid nagging and nitpicking
  • Give constructive criticism
  • Use humor
  • Sneak in mini-lectures
  • Find sports or activities to share
  • Establish rituals
  • Write it down
  • Put it in our own words or someone else's
  • Communicate through touch
  • Trust that you have done a good job of communicating your values


The Importance of Risk-Taking

Healthy Behavior
  • Participation in team sports
  • Safe participation in "adrenaline" sports
  • Outdoor activities
  • Creative pursuits
  • Travel
  • Work opportunities, internships, volunteer commitments

Warning Signs for Dangerous Risk-taking behavior
  • Ongoing debilitating emotional distress
  • Withdrawal or alienation
  • Frequent crying or violent outbursts
  • Lack of friends
  • Drop in school performance or attendance
  • Not checking in or abiding by curfew
  • Engaging in illegal activities
  • Lying

Harmful Things Your Teen Should not Experiment With Include:
  • Fast cars (especially in combination with drugs or alcohol)
  • Unprotected or exploitive sex
  • Hard drugs


Teen Drug Use and Abuse


How to Cope With a Teen
  • Be the example you want your children to follow
  • Talk to them
  • Make sure they have a place where they can hang out
  • Make your home a place where your teens and their friends want to hang out
  • Make your home a safe haven


Please join us in discussion on Adolescence. We welcome everyone to share their personal experiences, what works for your family, your struggles and your ideas. This is an open dialog and we ask that everyone be respectful of others' opinions. Take what feels right to you and leave the rest behind. Please be respectful to all our members so that the workshop can be a place of meaningful and respectful discussion for all our members. If you have a favorite quote from Natural Family Living, please share it.

We would like to invite everyone to join us no matter where you are in your thinking or feelings. These discussions are meant to be nonjudgmental so please keep in mind when reading members' responses that this is a true discussion based on Natural Family Living and not a place to debate or criticize. For more ideas and information, please see our Teens and Pre-Teens.

We’re excited to offer this workshop and hope it will give our members a glimpse into the grassroots of Mothering magazine and Natural Family Living.

This workshop will be facilitated by our moderators Oriole, BelovedK, Dar and allgirls. They are here to guide the discussion and keep it on topic. They will occasionally post references or ask questions to keep the conversation flowing. Please feel free to contact them at any time with questions, suggestions or concerns. Please keep in mind our workshop guidelines and current user agreement at all times.

We are compiling a Natural Family Living Resources Sticky which we will update with each workshop. Please feel free to refer to it for more information.

Cherie2 12-11-2008 09:27 PM

So how does this work? I was so excited to see an adolescent workshop but its been here since the 7th and no entries? Does somebody just have to start? I noticed the teen section has been awfully slow lately. Maybe a post in there about this workshop will bring in some people?

amnesiac 12-11-2008 09:55 PM

I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to come over & post until now but I'm so excited to have this workshop! I just wrote this to someone this week:
Quote:
I've been really struggling with watching my boys grow up. They're 13 now & today a girl's father came to pick them up for a double date sort of. They went over to her house with another girl - the dad cooked out & they played Wii. This is the age when things started to go wrong for me so I'm anxious & deferring to dh a lot.
They are really incredibly amazing people, they're great kids & I do trust that I've done a good job of communicating our values, offering support and maintaining a good connection with them. I'm just having a hard time overcoming my own insecurity & distress over my experience with adolescence.

Something I really want to continue to develop is making my home a place where their friends want to hang out. What things do you do to make it a safe haven for your kids but also an attractive hang out place for their friends?

Amys1st 12-11-2008 10:53 PM

My kids are still very young, but since they grow so fast, teen years will be here before we know it!!

I teach CCD for 8th grade. Its the confirmation year, but its easier than
7th grade year- YUCK!! It seems those kids are bouncing off the walls and the hormones rage. By 8th, they calm down a bit and are more comfortable in their skins it seems.

I have talked to several parents of teens and college age to see what they do since their kids seem to be doing all right. One, our neighbor the Chief of Police has teen agers. I asked him what could we do to keep our kids doing well and not in trouble. He asked me "You know how much these kids are in your life and how much time you spend with them? Dont stop, keep doing this."

Another thing- we are making our house the hang out now. We constantly have people over and have kids from the neighborhood play here. Get to know all their parents and continue that as they get older. Make them comfortable there.

Listen. I noticed with my 8th graders I teach once a week, if we give them the floor to speak, listen, engage them, its wonderful. I noticed if I keep up with something the kids are interested in, you have their attention plus they engage you as well.

One thing I did was have everyone text me so I had their numbers. Then I made everyone write down their cell numbers so no one ever had an excuse not to do their assignments etc. I later heard from a parent the kids thought that was cool how I did that. Where as, I was just trying to keep everyone in touch, but since I text, I wasnt that bad.

I have also noticed with my nieces/nephews that asking them things that interest them really helps them sit and talk with you. It may take a few times but it works.

Cherie2 12-11-2008 11:01 PM

It is a very exciting and fun time ... also pretty scary too. Mine are 15 and 19. Tonight my 15 year old is over at his "girlfriends" house he started "seeing" her yesterday.. I don't really even know what that means

my 19 year old has a 3 year old son. she has done some growing up ... but also has had some severe "stuck" areas.

I like to keep them home as much as possible... at least there I know they are safe and I can relax (its all about me isn't it?)

I do that by staying open to them, not teasing or ridiculing or placing judgment ... my ds said to his friend (Steve) just the other day .. "hey my mom is cool watch" to me: "Steve bla bla bla" knowing that I would not "freak-out"

it also helps to have lots of food in the fridge and some video games

allgirls 12-12-2008 10:50 AM

Hi everybody and welcome to the workshop! Glad to see everybody jumping right in. It's a busy time for all of us but we will be here as much as possible.

I have 4 children but the two older ones are 14 and 18 so it's likely that they will come up here a lot. I LOVE teens but I also worry a lot. Bigger kids equals potential for bigger problems.

I'll be back with more later. Just wanted to say Hi.

I also want to make a book recommendation. "Hold on to Your Kids" by Mate and Neufield. It's my main reference book in this journey of parenting teens.

phathui5 12-12-2008 12:01 PM

My oldest is only eight, but I'm already nervous about the teen years. I'm looking forward to seeing other people comment on the topics listed as they apply to real life.

BelovedK 12-12-2008 01:52 PM

Hi everyone, I am here too. Busy, but hoping to join in on the conversation

I have a 13 year old ds and a 9 year old dd, my ds has been a delight since he reached the teen years (well, 12 really) he was a real handful before that, but he seems to be finding himself. I just have to say that I love teenagers I know it can be a challenge, and I know I have mine in front of me (most likely) but I love watching them blossom into their individuality.

ricemom3 12-12-2008 03:49 PM

Hi! I am really excited about this also. I have two teens. ds#1 is 17 (18 in exactly 1 month and dd is 14. I also have a 17 mo ds, so we'll have another go round with this later. lol

I am very interested to see what everyone has to say about this age. I know that my son has been trying his "wings" of independence lately. We actually own another house (it's never sold) and he wants to move in there after his birthday. Yeah right.
We have different "issues" with dd, mainly - boys, yikes again.
So, I am really looking forward to some good insight.


Cherie2 12-12-2008 04:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ricemom3 View Post
We actually own another house (it's never sold) and he wants to move in there after his birthday. Yeah right.
oh my, if this was our house my ds would be trying to get me to let him move there now! and he is 15 (soon to be 16) - i would never hear the end of it, i would have to give the darn house away just to hush him up lol

Cherie2 12-12-2008 04:33 PM

I just posted in TOA on a thread asking what brought you to MDC - I was looking for advice on my then 17 yo who was going through some Very rough times... I have found no other place on the internet where people support and treat their teens with respect and dignity - like people. Everywhere else I looked it was all about "tough-love" and people complaining and degrading to no end. I was (and am) so very grateful to have found this site and to have people to brainstorm with that come from the same fundamental place as I do.

rayner 12-12-2008 05:28 PM

Hi there,
I spend a lot of time in Bali and am amazed at how polite and helpful teengers are in Bali.A lot of the problems that we have in Britain and in the States when I was living there are just unknown. There is general atmosphere of concern for others which the Balinese have not lost, and which they pass on to their children. Kindness, empathy and compassion is very evident in the villages.

Every month a festival is held in most of the villages and the young men attend and they drum, chant and dance for 24 hours nonstop. Elders are on hand to make sure that they do not get hurt when they stick those ceremonial knives in themselves or roll in the red hot coals. At first I was quite appalled but after a while I realised that the Balinese are well aware of the need for excitement and danger in a teenagers life. They try to provide a relatively safe experience.

It is by far better than sticking a knife in someone else as we have now in Britain. All is not perfect, poverty and economic exploitation of women is extreme. It would seem that the carrying of infants in a sling is the first step followed by intensive nurturing in which all the whole family joins in including the father. I think that we can take what will work for us and provide boxing, Judo clubs and all the other athletic activities which we once had in Britain. We certainly need to do something about our teens.
Rayner

shayinme 12-12-2008 05:35 PM

Just popping in , I have an almost 17 ds and 3 yo. The teen years haven't too much of a challenge the hardest part is that my son is from my first marriage and his dad and I have joint custody. My ex is having a hard time letting go as far as giving my son choices and the freedom to make his own decisions.

This summer my ex demanded my son cut short his visit with me to attend his wedding (last minute thing ) but my son stood his ground, he attended the wedding but finished the visit with me. It was amazing to see him navigate on his own and actually do it in a manner that was a lot more peaceful than what it would have been if I had taken on his Dad.

Cherie, I agree that MDC does have parents thar strive to really hear their teens/preteens. I remember feeling like I had no voice as a teen and its one thing I never wanted to do to my own kids. Its been hard, when ds decided to move to WI with his Dad last year I wanted to put my foot down, instead I let him make his choice.

I just wanted to say that I know many folks fear the teen years but honestly I have really enjoyed them, my son is now a junior and its like only a little over a year before he is on his own and that saddens me. Hanging out with my son is one of my favorite things, I feel like he keeps me young. :

Dar 12-13-2008 08:25 PM

Just saying hi... my daughter will be 16 in less than a month, and I'm really starting to think about what life will be like when she's not living with me anymore. I know she's thinking about it, too. She does plan to go off to a 4 year college at the traditional age, and she's starting to worry about getting in, and things that will look good on college applications. I mean, we know the basics - her tests scores are good, and she's doing cool stuff (she just started a French Club at the community college where she takes classes, and she's currently the club president) , but it will be a big change... and I will miss her.

dar

Arduinna 12-14-2008 03:08 AM

I have a 19 year old. I'm not sure what to say. I feel like these years have been the pay off of laying the groundwork of mutual respect and listening to each other that we did in her childhood. Baby and childhood was great and fun and 50x harder, I am loving these years the best. It's great to see the person she has become.

My biggest complaint about these years is about society at large that dreads teens and treats them as delinquents waiting to happen.

ricemom3 12-15-2008 01:47 PM

I agree that society as a whole looks at teens as all delinquents, it's rather sad. I agree with some pp that have said they enjoy these years. I know I definitely enjoy hanging out with both my teens, but I feel more relaxed with my son.

About his moving into our other house, once he realized that he would have to pay all the bills, he changed his mind. lol

We do seem to have a few issues. DS#1, who is 17, has been doing horribly at school. He failed 3 of 6 classes last quarter. He plays hockey, but hasn't been able to play yet this season b/c of the grades. When this quarter started, he basically started doing the same thing (not doing or handing in assignments). When I found out that he hadn't handed in appx 4 weeks of Algebra, I started to work with him. He said she didn't explain it well, etc. Anyway, he now has all the back assn. done, but gets a D on everything that is before the stuff for the current test. Anyway, I just don't get this lack of caring (or whatever it is) to not do the minimum of what is expected in school. I told him it is like a job, when you are given something to do, you do it whether you like it or not. I really do not know how to motivate him to work harder. Now our DD isn't doing alot better in her classes. She is too preoccupied with her friends and drama to work. It's funny that they are so polite and we have always gotten compliments about how nice and helpful they are, but they do seem to do their schoolwork. I guess it's more important that they are good, respectful people, but can't we just get some decent grades? lol

Cherie2 12-15-2008 03:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ricemom3 View Post
DS#1, who is 17, has been doing horribly at school. He failed 3 of 6 classes last quarter. He plays hockey, but hasn't been able to play yet this season b/c of the grades. When this quarter started, he basically started doing the same thing (not doing or handing in assignments). When I found out that he hadn't handed in appx 4 weeks of Algebra, I started to work with him. He said she didn't explain it well, etc. Anyway, he now has all the back assn. done, but gets a D on everything that is before the stuff for the current test. Anyway, I just don't get this lack of caring (or whatever it is) to not do the minimum of what is expected in school. I told him it is like a job, when you are given something to do, you do it whether you like it or not. I really do not know how to motivate him to work harder. Now our DD isn't doing alot better in her classes. She is too preoccupied with her friends and drama to work.
Do they choose to go to school?

BedHead 12-15-2008 03:53 PM

Oh, I SO hear you about the way society treats teens. It's abhorrent.

I have three, ages almost 15 (dd), 17 (ds) and 19 (ds). I just love them all so much! I hear about their friends parents kicking them out for what to me are ridiculous reasons, and I just shake my head. I don't really know any other like minded parents - I can't even talk to a lot of my kids' friends' parents, because I just don't agree with them on so much. I did many things when they were little that I regret now, non-gentle discipline things, but now that I am older and wiser I know better.

17 yo ds is living with my parents right now, finishing high school. He got in with the wrong crowd here, and he decided that this was the best solution. He's on the 'honorable mention' list for the first time in his life, and never skips. He's quit smoking, and LOVES school now. I'm so proud of him but I also miss him terribly. He's always been my 'needy' one I guess you could say- diagnosed with adhd at 3, into and out of different programs, had surgery 4 times for different things, very sensitive. I miss rocking him on the rocking chair - yes, at 17 he still wants me to rock him

My oldest was just convicted of assault causing bodily harm. Long story short, he and his girlfriend got into it and he went too far. I am so glad he was convicted - he has needed something, some kind of help, for years now for anger issues, and for unresolved issues about my break up with his father. Last time I had him in counseling (6 years ago) he told the counselor that he was being beaten up at home, so they launched a children's services investigation, which was of course closed quite quickly. He lied to them to get out of going, and has refused to go back. He is a very large guy, and uses his size to intimidate others, especially those close to him. He never punches or anything, but is just a bully when he gets in one of his 'moods'. Anyway, he's on probation, and has to get counseling which I am so glad of. He also finally realizes that I've been right all these years when I warned him repeatedly about it. He's a great guy though - when he isn't in one of his moods, he's like a big teddy bear. I just hope that things are going to get better from here on in with him.

And dd - she is just the light of my life. She has to be the happiest teen I have ever known. Apart from the odd whinefest every few weeks, she is an absolute joy. Her blog is in my sig

I would just like to recommend that every parent read the Teenage Liberation Handbook. Since dd has been homeschooling and ds moved away, I have none at home in school, and it HAS been a hugely liberating experience, for all of us!

Cherie2 12-15-2008 06:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BedHead View Post
Apart from the odd whinefest every few weeks, she is an absolute joy.
Would that be every 4 weeks? lol

Oriole 12-15-2008 07:28 PM

I have to admit that dsd is a complete mystery to me at times. Sometimes she shows the most amazing, caring, mature, understanding, free-thinking side, and other days she seems to be the most insecure, silly, self-absorbed girl you will meet.

One way or another, I have faith that she will sort out who she is, and will find her own place and purpose in this life. I have a feeling of awe watching her growing up. One day she is into politics, another into vampires.

Overall, I do believe that she sees right from wrong, and feels bad when it is brought to her attention that her actions could have been hurtful or damaging to herself or others, even if she doesn't show remorse right away.

I enjoy having serious conversations with her, or to listen to her and her dad talking about something. I love the feeling I get when I realize she took my advice, or acquired a skill from me. I feel sad knowing she'll be leaving the house in couple of years, and at the same time, I am excited for her, as I remember how it felt when I was leaving my parents' house.

BedHead 12-15-2008 07:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie2 View Post
Would that be every 4 weeks? lol
Yep! I can't believe how her hormones affect her. I've been trying to get her to track her cycles, but it's too much work for her. I got her the book Cycle Savvy by Toni Weschler and we both read it, it's a great book.

amnesiac 12-15-2008 10:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie2 View Post
it also helps to have lots of food in the fridge and some video games
See, this is an issue for me though. As a kid I got teased because of the "weird" food my mom fed me. Where I live is totally mainstream so the things we usually have in the fridge aren't what most kids around here have in their homes. I did try really hard this weekend though & I think the boys took notice & appreciated it. They had some kids over to watch a movie (which is okay for them because we do have the huge tv & surround sound) and I got stuff for them to have rootbeer floats. Dh made popcorn & they had some pretzels. I guess that it's just that I'm feeling like I have to plan for it rather than having it just be available.

mama_ani 12-15-2008 10:17 PM

Subbing because I'm in my 4th month of parenting a teen and it's been, well, um, interesting!!

UUMom 12-15-2008 11:46 PM

We're good.

Jezzy 12-16-2008 06:11 AM

I have two teens 15, and 13. They are challenging to say the least. Since my dd 13 got her first period 3 months ago she has become VERY b!tchy and pretty much stuck up. My ds 15 is easier. They are both pretty lazy and will walk by me when I am holding my lo (10 mo) and doing some chore, vaccuming, putting away dishes. They don't offer to help like I wish they would. I wouldn't put them to work for hours just a little help kwim?

This is NOT the way I raised them, they would help out a stranger in a heartbeat just not me

They are good kids though. They have never been in any real trouble. Just lazy

mandib50 12-19-2008 06:39 PM

i have a 15 1/2 year old dd ( and a son that just turned 12. they are both wonderful kids! my dd is compassionate, kind, considerate, and helpful. she is passionate about music and is so supportive of her younger siblings. my 12 year old son is also very much the same (except passionate about tae kwon do and tends to pick on the kids from time to time ).

i make a point of listening to them (when i was a kid, my parents did not listen to me at all), spending time with them, supporting them and encouraging them in their interests and just allowing them to be themselves. i don't know what i'm doing right but i love my kids and couldn't be happier with who they are becoming :

moominmamma 12-22-2008 02:24 AM

Mandib50, had to post out of appreciation for the similarities in our families. I have an almost-15yo dd, a newly-12yo ds, a 10yo dd and a 5yo dd.

We're also unschoolers, and my eldest is also passionate about music. And she's a wonderful kid, full of quirks but full of talents too. She's about to head off to Burma, Thailand and Northern Lao for two months trekking with [adult] friends. A "rite of passage" type travel adventure opportunity that arose as a result of mentoring relationships she established in the community in pursuing her music.

Miranda

AngelBee 12-22-2008 12:22 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

My biggest complaint about these years is about society at large that dreads teens and treats them as delinquents waiting to happen.


While I do not have any teens of my own (yet), I work with teens daily (mostly girls.)

I LOVE teens. And they love me.

I think the main reason is because I do not assume they are horrible.

I think of them as capable, intelligent, and eager to work hard and excel. I RARELY have issues with gossip or rudeness.....and I am dealing with 36 of them at a time We respect eachother as sisters. As a result they are extremely honest and respectful. And so am I.

mandib50 12-23-2008 04:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Mandib50, had to post out of appreciation for the similarities in our families. I have an almost-15yo dd, a newly-12yo ds, a 10yo dd and a 5yo dd.

We're also unschoolers, and my eldest is also passionate about music. And she's a wonderful kid, full of quirks but full of talents too. She's about to head off to Burma, Thailand and Northern Lao for two months trekking with [adult] friends. A "rite of passage" type travel adventure opportunity that arose as a result of mentoring relationships she established in the community in pursuing her music.

Miranda
wow ... very similar! that sounds likes a wonderful opportunity for your dd. it really is great to see how our children grow and become themselves :

MarineWife 12-23-2008 09:14 PM

Subbing

I have a 17yo ds who will be 18 in March. He seems to have 2 personalities. On the one hand, he can be very sweet and very thoughtful. When he's in the mood he cook special treats for everyone and he put a lot of thought into a Christmas present for me and was so excited that he blabbed about it. On the other hand, he can be very disrespectful and nasty when he doesn't get his way. He portrays an outward attitude of not caring about anyone but himself. An example would be that he's friends with people who I suspect engage in illegal activity. My dh is career military and we have come to the point that we are concerned that ds' behavior could affect dh's career. When I try to talk to ds about it, he says that's too bad for dh.

We started out kind of AP long before I ever knew what that was but veered off course for a while as he got older. We got back to it when he was around 12 or 13. I've been trying to fix our relationship. Sometimes I think it's working and sometimes I get very discouraged. It's difficult when the opinions and advice I get from almost everyone else is to be very harsh and tough and punish, punish, punish. That's just not something that works for us.

Anyway, not sure where I'm going with all of that. Just sort of rambling now.

:


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