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Talking with Your ChildIssue1234

Dealing With Irrationality

"Why did you do that???"

"I dunno."

This brief exchange is commonly heard in homes all across America. The first voice is the incredulous ​parent, having discovered that his or her teen has just done something mindboggling. The second is the teen, responding tersely but honestly, because he or she really doesn't know.

The part of the brain that deals with rational thought does not fully develop until we reach our mid-20s. This, unfortunately, leaves teenagers in the grasp of their emotions, often engaging in activities that offer immediate gratification, whether the emotion is rage, happiness or anything in-between.

The upshot of all this is that it is essentially futile to understand why your teen does the things he or she does. It also means that it is equally futile to get into an argument with your teenage son or daughter because, in doing so, you run the risk of simply engaging in emotional, rage-driven actions that risk closing the lines of communication between you and your teen - something you don't want to happen.

Teaching Activity

Getting Them Involved

Here's an activity designed to get your teen actively involved in something that benefits the whole family: making dinner. Have your teen plan, shop for and cook a meal for the entire family. Your adolescent chef can make anything he or she wants - within reason of course.

Give them a set amount of money for purchasing ingredients. This also helps them lea​rn to budget, which is another rational activity. Be available throughout the process if your teen asks for help.

Cooking a meal is an activity that requires a set of skills that lead to a specific outcome, so it's a great way to get your teen to develop planning skills. Also, it teaches a fundamental life skill that will serve your teen well when he or she is older and out of the house.

Social Skills

Asking for Help

If your teen tries the above teaching activity, there is always the chance that things won't go exactly as planned. Failure is inevitable in life, and those who go on to be successful as adults understand that failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. When failure happens - and it will - have your teen try the following:

  • Accurately Identify - that you did not succeed in a particular activity.
  • Remain - calm and relaxed.
  • Instruct - them to control emotional behavior.
  • Find - a caring adult and discuss your disappointment or other negative feelings.
  • Be Willing - to try again to be successful.

Coming up in Issue 2

Communication with Silence


Learn About Their Interests


Expressing Feelings Appropriately​

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