How to pick your battles with your teen

Michael Bradley, EdD Adolescent Behavior Specialist, shares advice for parents on how to effectively choose your battles with your teen and which topics are most important to fight over and which are not
How to Pick Your Battles with Your Teenager
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How to pick your battles with your teen

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When you are trying to figure out what fights to start with your teenager, think about a prioritization system like the airport use. They have the yellow alert, orange alert, and red alert, so they can break things down according to the relative risk. The same holds true with your teenager. By the way, first start out by remembering your mission statement. Your mission statement is not to raise an Ivy League student. Your mission statement is to raise the parent of your grandchildren, so that's really how you ascertain levels of risk. What does that mean exactly? What goes in the yellow basket? Things like hairstyles, clothes, weird music, forget it. That child is exploring her identity. You want those things to happen. Don't stop that. What goes in the orange basket? You are going to hate this one. Grades. There is very little correlation between success in high school and ultimate life success. In fact, we've got inverse data that shows that kids who struggle, fail, who have issues and trauma tend to do better later in life. Stop trying to have a stress-free child. That doesn't work out either. Do what you can about the grades, bribe and beg, but don't go to war over it. What do you go to war over? The red basket; drugs, sex, violence. Those are the things that affect the heart and the character of your child. That's where you have specific limits that are expressed lovingly. When you go to war with your kid, you always say, "I love you. I found this stuff in your room. This can kill you. We have to talk because I love you." The more angry you are, the less effective you are. The more calm you are, the more effect you are going to have on your teenager.

Michael Bradley, EdD Adolescent Behavior Specialist, shares advice for parents on how to effectively choose your battles with your teen and which topics are most important to fight over and which are not

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Michael J. Bradley, EdD

Psychologist, Author & Speaker

Michael J. Bradley, EdD, award-winning author, has counseled adolescents and their parents for over 30 years and currently has a private practice in suburban Philadelphia. As a recognized specialist in adolescent behavior and parenting, Dr. Bradley is in demand as a speaker and facilitator for mental health professionals, educators, and parenting groups. He has appeared on over 400 radio and television shows, including CNN, The Today Show and Good Morning, America, and has been interviewed by numerous magazines and newspapers such as USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Parents Magazine. His website forum is a great source of advice and encouragement to parents.

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