Welcome to our new TEEN LINE parents website. Every week, we will provide you with some tips, support, and guidance in surviving and enjoying your child’s adolescence.
I am Cheryl Karp Eskin, the Program Director at TEEN LINE, and a former TEEN LINE listener many years ago. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and have had the privilege of working with teenagers in a variety of settings, including community mental health, private practice and school. I have a 9 year old daughter, and a 6 year old son, so while I haven’t tackled the teen years yet personally, I get how tough it is to be a parent. I understand now why my family therapy clients may not always follow my “brilliant” suggestions, because I’ve been there. It’s hard to implement a behavior system when you’re (desperately) trying to get people out the door, go to work, grocery shop, get homework done, and maybe have some personal time (too wishful thinking?).
A theme that I will stress throughout this blog is that of unconditional love. I know well how your dreams and expectations as a parent can differ from your reality, but I don’t believe that parenting comes with strings or conditions. It’s okay not always to like your child’s decisions or choices, or even them in that moment, but it’s never okay to withhold love. We are all capable of loving someone we don’t like in that moment (think of your last fight with your best friend or partner!)
Even as teenagers when they seem like they don’t care or need parental support, they do. Our most heartbreaking calls/texts and emails are from teens who feel that their parents have given up on them or don’t love them. These teens are now questioning their self-worth and purpose. So, the next time you need to yell (we all do it, even the “best” parents) or discipline your child, please remember to start (or end) by letting them know you love them, even though their actions weren’t acceptable. That will go a long way towards creating an adult with healthy self-confidence, and a teen who wants to spend time with you.Leave a Comment ›