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Saturday, November 23, 2019

Ask a Therapist: Framing Limits for an Adolescent

The South Seattle Emerald is a gem of community media.  I suggest you check in there regularly if you want to know about the issues that south Seattle cares about.

They have a great on-going column - Ask a Therapist.

Counselors Roy Fisher and Liz Covey answer readers’ questions for South Seattle Emerald’s “Ask A Therapist.” Have a question about a relationship? Wondering about the struggles of being a parent? Others likely have the same questions and Covey and Fisher bring years of professional experience to provide their insights. 

This week's column is one I believe would ring true for many parents - Framing Limits for an Adolescent.
Question: I need some parenting advice. I’m struggling with my 11-year-old old daughter. I try and put limits but everything seems like a power struggle. For example, we got into recently about her getting a cell phone, she tells me all her friends have phones so why can’t she? She doesn’t accept “no” as an answer, she always wants an explanation. When she doesn’t get her way, she throws a tantrum until she gets what she wants, it’s exhausting. Please help.

Answer (partial - you should read the entire answer):
What I do recommend is “values-based” parenting. Rather than telling your child what they can or cannot do, frame everything through a value you are trying to teach.
Most parents I speak with who are struggling with a child’s behavior focus on the behavior they want to stop. Instead of doing that, I recommend encouraging and modeling the behavior you want your child to exhibit. I often ask parents, “Do you want to teach or do you want to punish?”

 If your goal is to teach, what informs what you want to teach your child? This is where values come in.

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