Sharon L Ward, MS, LPC, NCC
|Posted on May 28, 2015 at 2:05 PM|
The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers by Gary Chapman [ISBN 978-0-8024-7313-4] has many strengths and a few weaknesses, [just like parents and teens!] I like the idea of tuning in to what resonates with kids as a way to form better connections. I am wholeheartedly in support of the first four as ways to connect with kids. Their love languages change over time and this book provides options to consider when the tried and true ceases to be effective.
Chapman lists 5 ways to connect with teens: Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time, Acts of Service and Gifts.The last one [gifts] is more problematic. In today's society, it is easy to fall into the trap of giving material things as a way to connect with others. Non-custodial parents, busy working parents, parents who are at a loss about how to connect with their kids may easily fall into this trap. A special personal item here or there is a great idea, particularly if you know the recipient is likely to value it. Don't give Aunt Minnie's ruby ring to your daughter who hates to wear jewelry [and never really liked Aunt Minnie anyway] and then feel offended if she doesn't wear it.
The guidelines for determining consequences are simple and easy to understand. However, I find that some teens are smart enough to make the first guideline a problem. "Consequences should be determined before a violation," may not always be the best plan. Many kids I've worked with have said they weighed the known consequence against the potential pleasure of violating the rules and decided to "go for it." Sometimes the angst of the unknown consequence is a helpful deterrent.
There are good, easy to read, chapters on single parenting and other issues that parents of teens face. Well worth your time!