Even though the prefrontal cortex of an adolescent brain is still under-developed and they have difficulty sequencing their thoughts, this is a good time to start teaching them how to turn a disappointment into a success by looking for open doors.
During these developmental years, kids eleven years and up are typically crashing into walls as they try to navigate their way toward maturity. They must fight for their place in relationships, negotiate with parents almost daily for the freedom to do what they want, and they are searching for their voice in their small world that has suddenly become a lot larger.
It Becomes More Than Yes or No
As more and more options are given to these kids, they begin to realize that choice is not simply yes or no. There are other options they can also consider. This is new for your child and can become a positive and fun way for you to help them look for open doors that might lead to even better outcomes.
Start with simple situations like the plans they are making for the weekend. There are many moving parts to this planning that include transportation, money, getting permission, setting curfews…the list goes on and on. When a single part of the plan starts to fall apart, help them to think about open door-options they have not thought of before. This will take patience on your part, but gently pointing out an alternative that might work even better could turn frustration into victory.
Offer Suggestions Instead of Commands
They don’t want you to tell them what to do, but they will likely accept suggestions. Take the time to explore options with them. Even if they choose one that you would not have chosen, support their effort to think it through and make the best decision.
Learning to look for the open doors is a wonderful adventure for you to share with your adolescent. Keep it positive, fun and hopeful.
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