By Jessica Girard P ’14 ’20
Why Do Teenagers Lie? This and many other questions were answered by Matt Healy, a marriage and family therapist, at the Winter Speaker Series for parents. During his presentation, “Surviving Your Child’s Adolescence,” Healy, a father of four, outlined eight ways parents can improve relationships with adolescent children:
- Keep the lines of communication open, and most importantly with teens, find good times to talk and be a good listener.
- Give advice infrequently and remember, they are teens – as part of their adolescence, they are not “supposed to” listen to their parents as much as they did when they were younger. It is all part of becoming independent.
- Teenagers lie, and parents should definitely enforce consequences, but it is also important to understand why teens might lie, because often it is a clue to a bigger problem.
- Move on quickly after a conflict with teenage children – they will and so should their parents.
- Let them solve the problem. Empower teen children and play the role of consultant whenever possible.
- Be consistent, not stubborn. Boundaries and rules are important, but it is okay to negotiate and compromise sometimes too because those are important skills for children to develop.
- Two parents, one voice. Settle parenting differences without kids present. It is important to present a unified set of values and rules.
- Judge teen children by what they do, not by what they say.
Healy also reminded parents that adolescence is not the same thing as puberty; rather it is a developmental stage that can span from age 10 to the early 20s. Adolescence is the time when young people are trying to form their identity and become independent from their parents.