Parent Traps

My book, Surviving the High School Years with Your Sanity Intact: A Guide for Moms of Out-of-Control Teens, was published on April 11! I’m thrilled and touched by the response I’ve received.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 5, titled Parent Traps:

“There’s a freaking huge amount of advice on how to parent, isn’t there?! And when your teen is behaving badly, there’s even more.

We tried them all: behavior modification plans, privilege removals, talking about what was appropriate behavior, etc., etc.

They didn’t work.

This is the thing: the way I parented was determined long before my son’s behavior escalated and had been active for many years. It was driven by how my own parents parented layered over by my inner wounds and not-so-stellar beliefs about myself. In fact, I think I got the worst of both of my parents – my dad’s anger and my mom’s victimhood, lack of self-esteem, and deference to authority.

This wasn’t going to magically change because I put up a chores chart on the refrigerator.

One of the first steps you can take toward shifting to saneness in your situation is to look at your beliefs about parenting and how they contribute to the issues with your child. Do you parent by being in control or through fear? Do you try to be a friend? Can you not stand to hurt your child’s feelings?

It took me a long time to realize that we parented through guilt. We were always trying to guilt our son into behaving properly. When I realized I treated him in a way that I would never treat anyone else, I taught myself to not respond as I always had and start treating him like I would any other person. I had to bite my tongue many times before it became more natural to me, but it really shifted our relationship.

In this chapter, we look at three aspects of parenting: not having faith in your parenting, lack of boundaries, and using control. What other beliefs about parenting do you have that don’t serve you?”

To read the rest of the chapter, download a copy of my book for free at I’d also love to hear more about what’s going on with you; send me an email if you’d like to chat for a few minutes.

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