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  • lccleary

Does Your Teen Hear the Message of Love?

Teenagers can be so endearing, can't they?

I’m not being sarcastic.

Despite having high levels of frustration with him in many areas of life, my 17 year-old son can melt my heart with his smile. His disheveled hair and sweet grin go straight to my heart. The deep love I feel for him and the way it stays constant, despite aggravations and frustrations, is good for him and good for me.

Positive Discipline has a saying, “Be sure the message of love gets through.” It’s a good thing to remember when you’re disciplining your mischievous six year old, but critical to remember when dealing with the shenanigans and button pushing of your adolescent child.

When you stay connected with your love for your teen, it will strengthen you and guide you through the bad attitudes, the bad decisions, and the bad grades. Yes, it's so much easier to show your love when he gets the A, cleans up the kitchen, and volunteers at the homeless shelter. But it is just as important when he disappoints you and even deceives you. If you need help connecting to that feeling, find the cutest photo or the sweetest homemade Valentines card he ever made you and hang it on the refrigerator.

I have taught many Positive Discipline parenting classes, and parents of teens often say, “my teen knows I love them, of course they know how much I love them.” Maybe they do and maybe they don’t. But still, make sure the message of love gets through. Remember, their teen brain is not fully developed, and they may not "get" some things you think are completely obvious. They may hear your disappointment about the D in Math, your irritation at the messy bedroom, and even your anger at some egregious rule breaking AND confuse that for less love.

It’s not about permissiveness. He can feel your love and also hear that you are no longer paying for his phone, or his Math grade needs to improve before he can go on the ski trip. It’s not sugar coating. It’s always staying connected to that deep love for your teen, and making sure he sees it in you, and feels it down to his toes. Happy Valentines Day!

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