[CAN YOU RELATE?]
Introducing our newest column:
Therapist Brenda Strausz answers readers' questions
about relationships of all kinds.
My 13-year-old son wants more
Ca My 8- and 5-year-old daugh-
PR 1 ME
independence than I am willing to
have tried separating them and it
give him. I am confused as to how
doesn't change a thing.
much freedom is acceptable. It has
become a constant battle. Can you
— reader in Southfield
ters are constantly fighting. I
—reader in Birmingham
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times to teach your children
problem-solving and negotiating
two things we can give our children:
techniques; children are much
One is roots and the other is wings.
more receptive and open during
There is certainly a delicate bal-
"non-fighting" moments. You can
ance between wanting to keep your
approach this with a spirit of play
child safe while allowing him inde-
— pick a problem, brainstorm
pendence. Consider these factors:
How has he handled freedom in the
which ones would be most viable.
past? How responsible is he? What
When your daughters are fight-
are his friends like? How well do you
angry feelings, listen to each side
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know his friends' parents?
It's important to decide on your
and let them know you under-
expectations in advance, such as
stand how difficult this must be for
curfew times, check-in times, adult
them. "You two sound furious with
supervision, etc. Then you can dis-
each other!" or "It must be hard
cuss them with your child. He may
when you both want to use the
balk, but you can let him know that
computer at the same time."
as he gets older, the rules can be
Then, express your confidence
in their problem-solving abilities:
Teens need independence; that is
"I know that you two can come
how they grow up to be responsible
up with a good solution for this."
adults. Give them independence in
If they seem baffled, you can
increments according to their age
casually offer a few suggestions
and maturity, and then you will be
and exit. Many conflicts get magi-
able to observe how they man-
cally solved when parents leave
age responsibility. You have already
the room. Of course, if safety is a
given your son roots.
In these teen-
concern, firmness and time-outs
age years, he will slowly learn to fly
are definitely in order.
and hopefully even soar!
Siblings Without Rivalry by
Surviving Your Adolescents
Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
by Thomas W. Phelan
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It has been said that there are
possible solutions and decide
ing, you can acknowledge their
Brenda Strausz, M.A., is a local psychotherapist, parent
educator, certified relationship coach and certified hypnotherapist.
E-mail her your questions at email@example.com .