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Extra resources for Boundaries With Teens: When to Say Yes, How to Say No -- 2006 publication
You need to be strong enough for kids to crash into over and over and over again. You must stay strong, so that your teens will learn to stay on track. Guard rails get dinged up. But if they work well, they preserve the young lives that run up against them. 32 Boundaries with Teens Chapter 3 Get Connected Every neighborhood has one: the home where all the kids hang out to talk, watch television, play video games or Ping-Pong, and eat. The home away from home. My wife and I have become close with that family in our area, because we can visit our sons when we visit with the parents (just kidding).
This is called parentifying, because the child has become the parent. The adolescent becomes a confidant, a sounding board, a listener, a problem solver, and someone to talk to on a Friday night. Because teens look and act like grown-ups, parents can easily fall into depending on them. This may feel good to the parent, and connection is a good thing, but your teen needs room in his head for his own development and tasks. When your kid’s mind is full of your life, he is too concerned with supporting you to be able to experience and deal with his own struggles and challenges.
Not only does the teen have to struggle with a broken home, it’s likely she will never develop any self-control. Kids from a single-parent family need limits just as much as any kid does. So surround yourself with guilt-busters — that is, friends who will support you when your emotions tell you you’re being too mean. Cry on their shoulder, allow them to give you a reality check, and let them encourage you to love your teen and still hold the line. I have a single-parent friend who always felt guilty whenever she grounded or took privileges away from her teens.