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Need advise on how to deal with your teen? Visit this site for support. A social network for parents to help one another through the challenges and successes of bringing up teens.

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      27.02.2009 12:57
      Very helpful



      Work at building a strong bond with your teenager.

      Remember the days when you would stand at the school gate waiting patiently for your little one. Remember the way they would run full speed towards you with that look of sheer and utter unconditional love and the look of excitement in their eyes, as they if hadn't seen you for a week. Such an amazing feeling, spine tingling feeling, it made you feel so important, like you were the only person who meant anything in the world to them. Where did it all go?! Now my "little boy" is 16 and although, as most of you who read my reviews will know, he is a very thoughtful, caring and kind young man, when picking him up from school now I am lucky if I get a grunt as he climbs into the car whilst rapidly texting his friends who he has now not seen for a matter of minutes!! His beautiful smiling eyes hidden behind the meticulously straightened hair I so lovingly spent ages sculpting for him after breakfast.

      What happened?

      Where did it all go wrong?!

      Did it go wrong, or is this normal?

      Did aliens perhaps abduct my son, where has he gone? Will he come back?

      Is it my fault?

      Could I have been a better parent?!

      These are just some of the questions I have been asking myself daily over the past few months. I am finding it so difficult to come to terms with the fact that my son is growing up but to add to that I am finding it even more difficult to understand him, some days even feeling like I don't know him any more.

      When I speak to other parents I sometimes feel really guilty because when I hear the horror stories some of them are going through with their teenagers I realise how lucky I am, but this still doesn't really help. It doesn't make the changes I have seen in my own son any easier to cope with. I find it so hard to please him and so hard to joke with him now. I've always tried to keep up to date with things, you know, wear trendy clothes, keep up with technology, music, celebs etc. but I still have this worrying feeling I embarrass my son!

      Not really being a subject that I find particularly easy to talk about, you know, you can't really go out for a coffee with a pal and discuss it, well I can't anyway because it's too upsetting. Then talking to family members isn't always a good thing either because, although their heart is in the right place, they can often aggravate the situation, so I decided to resort to my good old faithful source of information, the internet!

      The website I came across, which I found the most helpful with a great source of information and support was www.gotateenager.org.uk

      ==A Bit About The Website==

      With a very warm and welcoming home page I immediately fell in love with this website with its bright colours and smiling faces giving me the sense that there is hope out there. The website covers many different topics and explains in simple terms the best ways in which to deal with these topics with your teen. It explains in great depth about boundary setting, what sort of boundaries you should set and how best to do that.

      It covers in great detail subjects, which parents often have difficulty in broaching with their teens, subjects like bullying, drugs and alcohol, health and wellbeing, risky behaviours, school and sex, giving the parents tips and hints on how best to approach these subjects and what you and your teen should expect from one another.

      There are blogs where you can share with other parents the ups and downs of your life with your teen. It also gives you the chance to read what other parents are going through. I found these really great for support and also a good way of picking up advice from other parents.

      There is a message board section too, again giving parents and teens a chance to chat with others who may be going through a similar situation to yourselves.

      The online comic book section is quite an entertaining way to show you how one situation can have 2 extremely different outcomes. Taking everyday scenarios and creating a comic book style story, which helps to make you and your teen very aware of the different ways in which an everyday situation can turn out.

      You can watch video web TV where simple, everyday situations are discussed where you can gain help and information for both yourself and your teen by watching and listening to chats covering a range of topics you may find you are having problems with.

      There are 4 E-Learning Modules you can access. These modules contain quizzes and activities for both you and your teen where you can try and work out some of the issues you may have together. Before accessing these modules you have to first register with the website, but this is simple and easy to do and costs nothing. The modules do not have to be done in any order, they are completely private and confidential and will take around 40 minutes each to complete. The subjects covered are:

      Getting on with your teenager

      Negotiating and agreeing limits

      Dealing with anger

      Keeping your teen safe

      Overall I found these very helpful. They help you to achieve a good, stable relationship with your teenager as a friend and equal. They help you to get over the point to your teenager that boundaries and limits have to be set but can also be negotiated. They explained that anger gets you nowhere and ultimately can actually make the situation much worse and they gave me useful information on how to keep my son safe without him feeling mollycoddled.

      The Jargon Buster section is a quirky fun section, which basically translates into English what your teen is actually talking about! I don't think it's too cool though for the parents to start talking like that but it is quite good to see the shock on your teen's face when you understand what they say!

      If perhaps you are at your wits end and would prefer to talk to someone you can call Parentline Plus on 0808 800 2222. A line where you can just talk things through, get things off your chest.

      ==My Views==

      Teenage years are extremely difficult for parents but they are also just as difficult, sometimes even more difficult for the teenagers themselves. They are told to grow up and stop acting like children, even although they still really are (sorry to all the teenagers out there who may be reading this!) and at the same time are not yet adults. They are in limbo and in a lot of cases I think they feel the best way to deal with this is to shut everyone out and stick together "because no-one else understands"! I think teenagers and adults both have an obligation to make an effort to try and work out a good, stable relationship together, after all the last thing we want is to drift apart. It is not just down to the teenager to make all the effort, parents have to work at it as well. I think to get the best results is by working together as a team and this website definitely gives some really great advice and support in this monstrous challenge.

      As much as I miss my "little boy" I don't really think having a teenager running out of school all happy to see me would have quite the same effect as it did in the early years, but a smile or a wave, a pleasant little chat about their day would do wonders to help start a good stable bond.

      I am not for one minute saying that I don't get on with my teenage son. I am actually really lucky with my son and I am very aware of that. We do have a good close relationship, he has never missed school, doesn't stay out late, doesn't drink (even although his friends do), doesn't smoke and as far as I am aware is very honest with me but it's just his attitude at times, the way he speaks to me like I'm some kind of idiot or his mood swings, if he's had a bad day it's me he takes it out on. I don't want this to come between us and I am working very hard to keep our relationship as close as it has always been and this website has really helped a lot, it is a good source of help and information with useful tips and more importantly support and the knowledge that I really am not alone and there are others out there going through the same as me and in many cases much worse.

      I would definitely recommend this site to parents who may be going through the teenage years with their children and also to teenagers who may be giving their parents a bit of a rough time - it is very helpful.



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