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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tough Love for teenagers - illusions, myths & fears

I have been to another toughlove support group meeting and have been inspired to write a blog post on the topic of discussion for the week - "Overcoming Obstacles", a chapter from the TOUGHLOVE PARENTS MANUAL written by Phillis & David York, Founders of Toughlove. The following are excerpts from the book.

How often do we as parents have visions or goals for our teenagers only to sit in disbelief as they go FERAL!!! These visions are illusions. Illusions made up from past and future hopes are something that we believe to be true even though the facts are different. For example my son the Dr just got arrested or my daughter the lawyer just dropped out of year 10. When we start accepting our teenager for what he/she is right now, drop out, drug user or whatever then we stop protecting them. It is up to the teenager to choose to either remain the same or choose a new role - college student, reformed drug user, shop assistant etc.

Parents shape their children.

Children are independent creatures who shape their own lives.

Most of us get run by our fears.

"If I lock my kid out he'll have to sleep outside and he'll catch pneumonia."

"All my relatives will know that I am not a good parent."

Your child has the right to own his/her own life, mistakes and all. Your fears prevent him/her from learning. Perhaps he/she might learn to love you.

Fears are defences against change, against newness. Fears trap and keep you in the same old patterns. Fears keep you helpless and overwhelmed.

Who else would you scare like this besides yourself?

I look forward to going to my toughlove support group as they encourage, teach, inspire and support me and each other in one of the most difficult roles which we will ever play in our lives - Parenting teenagers. Thank you toughlove buddies for your tremendous support for me and each other while you are all going through your own toughlove challenges. You are truly awesome people!

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