Even if you’ve sailed through parenthood so far, suddenly you can find yourself struggling as a parent of a teenager.
There’s no training manual for parenting; rather we learn by experience, which can be incredibly stressful because we realise how important our role is, and we don’t want to get it wrong or damage our children or teens!
It’s common for parents to put a lot of pressure on themselves to be “perfect” – but there is no such thing as a perfect parent.
Is it possible to deliver a successful intervention at every fault that occurs in your teen’s life?
Is it possible to successfully, without error, disagreements or misconceptions, create a perfect relationship with your teenager, free from any experience of negative emotion?
Is it possible to succeed at all these tasks and do it all with a positive attitude, never experiencing frustration or anger towards your teenager?
When reflecting on these questions we quickly realise that the answer is “no” … a “perfect” parent does not exist.
What parents can do though, is be “good enough”. “Good enough” to provide their offspring with a healthy, positive relationship with each parent, as well as boundaries provided in a healthy, respectful way, free from abuse and harm.
This leads to many questions; specifically, where do we learn our parenting strategies from, and where can we learn more?
We mostly learn how to parent, from our own parents – even if it was how “not” to parent! The parenting style we were subjected to as a child provides us with our greatest source of information. Have you ever made that statement as a teenager: “I’m never going to parent like that!”, only to find yourself doing the same thing as you parent your own children?!
However if you are looking for more information or wisdom when it comes to parenting teens, the Triple P program might be what you are looking for
How Triple P can help
Developed by Professor Matt Sanders, Triple P (short for Positive Parenting Program) is an evidence-based parenting program that works with parents on specific goals for their family.
Strategies are divided into promoting positive development with your child or teenager, and managing misbehaviour.
For example, building a positive relationship with your teen would be discussed when covering promoting positive development, while managing misbehaviour would include the introduction of logical consequences.
An Example of How Triple P Parenting Strategies Work
Every parent has encountered a tantrum in their small child, which can last anywhere from 30 seconds to an hour or more.
The classic question parents ask themselves is: “How do I manage this behaviour?”.
Using Triple P principles, parents start by thinking, Why is my child having a tantrum (bear in mind sometimes there may be no obvious reason)?
This may require the parent to:
- record what is happening just before the tantrum occurs;
- reflecting on how the tantrum is normally managed.
In this example, once we figure out why tantrums occur, we can work towards preventing tantrums occurring in the first place. For example, to avoid saying “No” too much the parent could put away things that are not to be played with.
It is only after prevention strategies are explored that a Triple P practitioner will start to provide strategies for managing the tantrum. These can then be applied and differences can be recorded with how the child reacts to the intervention.
Although tantrums are not usually the issue in teenagers, it is a good example of how the program works
But does it work?!
Triple P has been around for more than 35 years and an extensive amount of research has occurred across many countries.
Results have generally indicated that use of the program shows an improvement in the behaviour of the teen or child, and as well as in the parent-child relationship.
Additionally, parental wellbeing and confidence showed positive results, while there was a decrease in stress levels and depression, from implementing Triple P parenting strategies.
Author: Sharyn Jones, B Psych (Hons).
Sharyn Jones is a Brisbane psychologist with 10 years of experience working with adults, adolescents, children and their parents. She is a trained practitioner in Triple P parenting strategies, and enjoys helping parents to gain new skills to create a better family life.
To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Sharyn Jones, try Online Booking – Mt Gravatt. Alternatively, you can call Vision Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3088 5422.