When I say “no,” I’m not saying it to be mean. It certainly doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It’s not always easy to say no, but I have to say it to protect you, protect you from things that you don’t understand yet I’m still trying to teach you, show you. I have more reasons than I could ever explain to you why I have to and need to say no. But here are just a few, for the record.
When I say “no” you have to do homework first before…” If you don’t get your schoolwork done in time, how can you expect to hold down your responsibilities later in life in working, appointments, just getting things done that need to be done.
In our family, the teens have always known that the rule is not to spend time at another home without a parent present. When they are invited to a gathering we call ahead to speak to the parent and be sure there will be supervision. If we do not know the family and their attitude towards smoking, alcohol, drugs, teen sexual activities we ask specifically and meet the parents when bringing the teens to the party, whether it is a birthday party or just hanging out. There have been some opportunities to be with a close friend of the same gender at home without parents, but this only happens with teens we have spent time getting to know and whose parents also know our family and agree to the unsupervised time.
Especially when our son brings home some NEW friends after school, I give them a little time to themselves. Meanwhile, I prepare something to eat; and when it is finished, I announce that a snack is ready on the kitchen table. As they munch, I make sure I busy myself on a project in the kitchen so that I can try to learn something about the new friends. Sometime during the snack, I will ask a couple of questions, such as what classes they have that they like and what they like to eat, letting them know I’d like to try to have those foods on hand that they personally enjoy. So far, this has worked really well for 7th – 9th grades.
I’m writing as a parent of an ADHD kid. Throughout his academic life, he faced many struggles. Early on, he was diagnosed as delayed in his fine motor skills, so he repeated kindergarten. Throughout elementary school, he carried a stigma of thinking he was so dumb that he had to repeat kindergarten. Even though his grades were poor, the school he was in did not believe in retaining the students. They said, “This will damage his self-esteem.”
My workload outside of home was becoming more demanding, and I would come home at the end of the day wiped. I would make dinner and either catch up on some reading or watch a little TV and then fall into bed. My teenage daughter had been complaining for some time that I was not spending enough time with her, and it was beginning to grate on me, because I felt I was doing everything I could to just get through the week. After all, I was always still affectionate with her and did make an effort to see how things were going in school. I supported all her activities in school and out and attended all of them.
Setting limits is one of the most powerful tools that professionals have to promote positive behavior change for their clients, students, residents, patients, etc. Knowing there are limits on their behavior helps the individuals in your charge to feel safe. It also helps them to learn to make appropriate choices.
Download:The Art of Setting Limits
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