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Zen's avatar

Parenting tips?

Asked by Zen (7705 points ) October 8th, 2009

This is something I’ve been doing with my daughter which I thought I’d share with you. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and my daughter does, too. Communication with a teen girl is something else, though. So I thought of a way to combine the two.

A journal or diary is personal, so it’s great for writing, but not really as a tool for communication. I tried to think of a way of using the diary writing experience and combine it with easy access and dialogue apps (to use a newfangled term), and came up with this:

Bathroom Two-way Diary.

It’s there for the writing. (Sorry, that came out as a slogan).

Whenever you are sitting on the throne and want to say something but feel you can’t, just write it. We developed a special dialogue this way, and I thought I’d share it with you.

Got any parenting tips or tricks for us?

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13 Answers

deepdivercwa55m's avatar

am 16 years old male and i have some problems with my father. My advice is to think twice before you say no to something she really wants. If you insist you should tell her a very good reason. Talk to her for your problems. This way she will trust you and when she has a problem you will be the first one to hear it.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I’ve always used e-mail to talk about difficult topics with the kids, because they have to hear me out, they have time to digest what I have to say before they talk to me about it, and emotion generally is easier control, because you can edit before you hit send. Two way journal’s a good idea.

mattbrowne's avatar

I found that personal anecdotes anecdote as an ice breaker really help. The only thing you have to avoid is this notion when I was young the world was much better, which is an illusion anyway. But a story like, oh, when I was in 9th grade there was this funny guy and he always… makes it much easier to move on to more delicate subjects later. People love stories. Most of them are attention grabbers.

Zen's avatar

Side benefit: It’s also a good way to develop her writing skills in this age of computers.

janbb's avatar

When my kids were about 14–15 we started to get into fights about whether they needed new clothes, what kind of clothes they needed, how much to spend. I came up with one of – my rare – brilliant parenting ideas. Whne they turned 15, I gave them each a clothing budget per season. They could shop for what they needed – with or without me – but when the money was gone, that was it. If they chose to buy a velvet blazer for $200, they might be blowing their entire budget for the season and they might not have money for new jeans. It gave them autonomy, a chance to choose how they wanted to dress and a sense of money. They learned to shop in the sales so that their money would go further. I felt it was a win-win situation. (I was lucky that I only had boys so I didn’t have to get into issues of too revealing/too provocative choices, but I feel this system could be modified to deal with that.)

cyndyh's avatar

@janbb : I had a clothing allowance for my kids for a while when they were teens. My daughter was not into wearing revealing things so that didn’t really come up. There were actually a lot of things that I would have worn at her age that she was very uncomfortable with. What did come up was that my son seemed to be able to buy a lot more for the same amount of money.

gailcalled's avatar

When my two kids and my three step-kids turned 14, I showed them how to use the washer and dryer. It was then up to them.

My son, a defiant sort, piled all his clean clothes on one side of his rather large attic bedroom. As they became soiled, he threw them on the other side of the room. When he had nothing clean left to wear, he did his laundry. I rarely went in there and occasionally handed him a vacuum cleaner. And he did want to learn to iron eventually.

hearkat's avatar

@gailcalled: When my son went from pulling his favorites out of the hamper to changing his clothes a couple times a day is when I taught him to do his own laundry. He was 10.

As a single parent, the budget was tight. Starting in 1st grade, I gave him an allowance based on his GPA. In those earlier grades, when shopping for sneakers, I’d tell him that I had $50 to spend. If he wanted a more expensive pair, he had to pay the difference.

Around 8 years old, he started working odd-jobs around the neighborhood (raking leaves, shoveling snow, washing cars, etc.) for extra spending money; and he got is working papers as soon as he turned 14. I did the same thing with the clothing budget once he got older.

I was fortunate to be able to give him a car when he got his license, and he immediately got a job. Since then I have not given him much beyond gifts, because he knows I’m paying the insurance on the car.

My son and I communicate via text messages and even on Facebook. I like that it allows us to get our point across succinctly and without worrying about the reaction. I also find that road trips are good for longer conversations.

janbb's avatar

@hearkat Your son is younger than ours; we had a $40. limit on sneakers. For some reason, it really galled us to be asked to pay more when we knew how cheaply they were made for and how it was all about status anyway.

YARNLADY's avatar

My advice is to start teaching them what you want right from the start. Some of the advice here comes way past the time I would begin, like doing the laundry. As soon as they can walk, they picked up clothes and followed me to the laundry room. They loved to stand in front of the dryer and throw the clean wet clothes in as I took them out of the washer, and they loved to take the dry clothes out and put them in the basket to be folded.

I also started teaching them about washing dishes by putting sitting them on the counter next to the sink and letting them play with the wash cloth, and even wash some of the unbreakable dishes.

I taught them to come when called by going to them when I called, and giving them a big hug, everytime, without fail.

I taught them to leave things alone by distracting with something else. They also learned to pick up their toys when I would take their hand, pick up the toy with my hand in theirs, and put it away.

Never, ever tell them to do something unless you are going to make sure they do it, as the earliest age, while you still have control of them. Once they know you really mean what you say, they will never forget it.

Don’t expect teenagers to behave, they can’t. Just try to avoid confrontations as much as possible.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think it’s a GREAT idea, Zen. I wish I’d thought of it.

gruff's avatar

Zen, that is a wonderful tip. I am going to hold onto that one…

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