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encouraging your teenager

Sometimes it might seem that teenagers don't value their parent's opinions. But don't be fooled-they do. That's why they are particularly sensitive to criticism, and need positive feedback from their parents more than ever.

You may not always feel like giving positive feedback when you also have to deal with the bickering and hassles that can be part of daily life with a teenager. So why do it? Here are three important reasons:

  1. Adolescents can be very self-critical and are vulnerable to low self-esteem. They need to hear positive messages to help keep a balanced view of themselves.
  2. Lots of positive feedback contributes to a positive atmosphere in the home; nagging and
  3. Positive feedback is a good way of letting your adolescent know what kind of behaviour you appreciate and value.

Congratulate yourself if you give your adolescent six positives for every negative (i.e., criticism, demand, or refusal). Here are some examples of how to be more positive:

  • Go out of your way to find good things your adolescent does, and comment on those things.
  • When you give positive feedback, say exactly what you liked and why you liked it (e.g., "Thanks for bringing the shopping in for me. That was very thoughtful and considerate. I really appreciate it.")
  • Recognise effort as well as achievement. Don't wait until something is done perfectly before giving positive feedback. For example, "It's great to see you try so hard on that homework."
  • Express your confidence in your adolescent at every opportunity (e.g., "You can do it"; "I know you will do what's best for you"; "If anyone can work this out, you can").
  • Don't be put off by strange reactions to your positive comments . Your teenager may simply need more practice in how to accept compliments.

Giving positive feedback is a powerful way of supporting and encouraging your adolescent. To get in the habit of giving positive feedback, think of yourself as the leader of your teenager's personal cheer squad, standing on the boundary, cheering them on in life.