What To Do When Your Teen Has Gone Over Thirty Days Without Speaking To You
How To Respond To Parental Alienation
Posted Mar 02, 2011
When teen has gone over a month without speaking to you, you do nothing. At least nothing in terms of making your teen speak to you. However, there are other things that you can do to maintain a healthy relationship with your teen. There was a failed attempt to have strained relationships between parents and their children listed as a mental health disorder in the upcoming publication of DSM V as parental alienation, but I would have to agree that parental alienation is not a disorder, at least not on the part of the child.
If you have not been sexually or physically abusive to your child, there is no reason why you should be estranged from your child. Most cases I encounter were a teen is no longer speaking to a parent is were both parents are no longer a couple or never were to begin with, and the nature of the relationship between both parents is contentious at best . In situations like this it is not uncommon for the parent with the strained relationship to blame the other parent for turning their child against she or he. This is an unfortunate scenario I have seen played out amongst divorcing couples, or parents who have been separated from each other for some time. But the situation becomes even more tragic when dis-hearted parents give up on earning the love and respect of their sons and daughters and become emotionally disengaged. This is the worst thing a parent on the receiving end of unneeded resentment can do to make matters go from bad to worse.
Here are four things you can practice on a daily basis to maintain a healthy and meaningful relationship with your teen, regardless of whether or not he or she speaking to you.
Nurture your teen's personal power.
Recently our news media has been filled with stories of populous uprising in North Africa and the Middle East. There is nothing more that inspires resentment than to be censored by an authority figure or figures. So if your teen is angry with you, respect his or her personal space. Don't push the issue, don't take it personal, but do take them seriously. It is possible to maintain healthy boundaries while permitting your child to exercise their freedom of speech and expression. Emphasis is on healthy expression of anger and resentment, so it is not acceptable for a teen to communicate nasty insults to address his mother, but it is acceptable for a teen to express his feelings of anger towards his mother and vow to go a period of time of not speaking to his mother. This been written, in some cases where a teen has grown accustomed to getting away with being verbally abusive, I encourage parents to place that issue on the back burner when there are worse behaviors taking place.
Don't Forget Your Role As A Parent
The role of a parent is to help our children to become as prepared as they can be for adulthood. It is natural to become easily hurt and angered when your child becomes emotional distant from you. It's during times like this that you should remind yourself that your goal as a parent is not to raise a friend, but to enable your child to achieve a great deal of emotional and intellectual growth. So stay committed to your role as a parent.
Unconditional love and acceptance
Accept your teen, for his or her strengths and flaws. So if your teen has gone for an extended period of time without speaking to you, it is important that you forgive him or her. As parents, when we role model for our children unconditional love, we are teaching them how to treat and regard us. It is important to note that forgiveness does not go hand in hand with the absence of consequences. Forgiving your teen does not mean that he or she gets away with engaging in detrimental behaviors. Forgiving your teen means that no matter how hurt you are by his or her decision to hold a grudge against you, you will continue to be emotionally engaged in their lives.
Practice what you preach
As parents and guardians our words mean nothing without our actions to support what it is we are trying to teach. What this means is that when we have made bad decisions and mistakes and we come to recognize these errors in our decision making processes, then we should honor the relationship with our children by promptly admitting when we are wrong and making amends when possible. Admitting you made a bad decision and apologizing does not diminish your leadership role in the life of your teen, it strengthens it.
Ultimately, the goal is to role model how best to resolve conflicts with your teen, and it works.