What is an important feature in the home for parents and teenagers?

wiseGEEK Writing Contest

RESPECT is number 1 on my list of must haves here in our house while our teenager is going through his raging hormone stages. We stress the importance of self-control when it comes to anger issues that come out of our teenager in the forms of punching holes in his bedroom wall or cussing like a sailor to our face or under his breath.

My strategy on dealing with the punching wall issue has been to take him to Lowes and make him buy the materials in order for him to patch up his walls himself. Plus, the female Doctor who X-rayed his hand gave him the idea that maybe Mom should check into anger management counseling. I could have hugged her when I saw that my son noticed the light bulb lighting up inside my head at her suggestion!

Now the cussing-like-a-sailor is harder to deal with, especially since it is accepted by the radio and movie industries as "normal". I readily point out to our teenager that while we are far from perfect parents...the-cussing-like-a-sailor was not something he learned from us. So, while he is under our roof he must abide by our rules and watch his mouth. His cell phone, TV and cancelled fun week-ends with friends have been taken away to get our point acrossed. Consistency mixed with much prayer works wonders with these issues.

Now on the other side of the coin...our teenager gains respect from us as he shows us he is really trying to change for the better. We give our teenager a little more freedom with each step that he makes toward improving himself in the above mentioned areas and other ones as well. I cannot stress the importance of other "positive" people in the forms of friends or mentors that will come along side you and your teenager in order to confirm that what you are trying to do is look out for them...you have their best interest at heart. We are here to tell you that these individuals are like "gold" to us, because we have seen the wonderful difference they make in the life of our teenager. Which truly helps us in our life as a family...knowing that our teenager is spending time with people who will give him good advice as he confides in them about things he is struggling with. This takes away a lot of the worry that I used to have.

One of the most important features of our life with our teenager is that no matter how upset he is with us...he is never too angry before he hangs up the phone or before he leaves out the door to say: "love you". Who says parents can't learn from their teenagers?!

I think I would have to say that that is the greatest show of respect ever. He is definitely a keeper!

submitted by kat rich