Have You Checked-in with Your Child Since the Start of School? Who Has Your Child Been Hanging Out with? Find Out: Peers Have a Greater Influence Than You May Think
“How was school today”? “Fine”. “What did you do”? “Nothing”. “What do you mean nothing”? “I don’t know”. This may be a typical conversation between parent and child. Now, is the parent really getting any answers from her child? Of course not…Many parents may become frustrated by this common interaction and response from a child. The question is: What can a parent do to get more appropriate responses? www.southtampatherapy.com
This may be a typical conversation between parent and child. Now, is the parent really getting any answers from her child? Of course not…Many parents may become frustrated by this common interaction and response from a child. The question is: What can a parent do to get more appropriate responses?
Communication with a child or teenager is extremely important, but many of the usual transitions that occur developmentally tend to interfere with the effectiveness and the amount of communication between parent and child. As children get older they tend to confide in peers more readily than with parents. This makes them more susceptible to the influences of their peers. In addition, ordinary communication between parent and child regarding daily activities; what they did, who they were with, and where they are going, also decreases. This decreased interaction presents a problem for both child and parent. A child may not feel comfortable talking with a parent, expressing his true feelings, or verbalizing problems that may be present. On the other hand, a parent may not be able to give advice, explain situations and issues, or know their child’s true feelings.
It is also important to note that peers can have a positive influence on your child. Help them find friends that have similar interests and views that your family values. Teach your child how to avoid potentially harmful situations where bad habits, drinking, smoking, or drugs may be present and minimize negative influences by choosing friends who also choose not to use these substances. You, as a parent, have a lot more positive influence over your child’s choices even as you are gradually not physically around them as much. The key is communication.
Talk with your child about things that are bothering you. If you are having difficulties communicating with your child or teen, you can set up an appointment with a counselor. Elizabeth Mahaney M.A. is a psychotherapist in the Tampa Bay Area who has experience working with individuals and families who may be experiencing difficulties communicating. Some teenagers tell Mrs. Mahaney that when they do talk to their parents about various things, the conversation ends up becoming a lecture that they do not want to hear. When children converse with their parents and get this response, communication tends to decrease. It is important for parents to remain objective. Try asking your child what he or she thinks of a situation and discuss the response instead of lecturing.
To set up a free consultation over the phone or to make an appointment with Elizabeth Mahaney M.A. MHC/MFT visit her website www.SouthTampaTherapy.com or call 813-240-3237.
Elizabeth Mahaney is available for further questions, comments, and interviews.
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