Giving Resources Reasonably
One way that all parents influence their teenagers is through the resources they offer. Resources include your time, your money, your things, your advice, and anything else that is given to better their life. Examples of resources include a therapist for the depressed child, a tutor for the student struggling in school, or paying for a child’s travel ball team. A parent’s resources sometimes create an opportunity for the child to have fun. More important resources offer the possibility to fix or better significant problems in the teen’s life.
When a teen is given a resource and is not only grateful but utilizes the resource in the way that the parent envisioned, everyone, is happy. The parents feel positive about their triumphant parenting moment, and they even feel loved and appreciated. The child got what they wanted or what they needed, and they get the satisfaction of knowing that his or her parents are pleased with the outcome.
The problems arise when the teen either doesn’t utilize the resource or flat out rejects the resource. This can lead to nagging and frustration in the parents. The teen, feeling pressured, will often step things up a notch and outright defy the parents and their attempt at helping. The parents then step up their parenting game by lecturing or maybe even putting the child down by pointing out not only what they are doing wrong in this situation, but what they are doing wrong in every aspect of their life. All of a sudden, the well-intended resource becomes a source of hurt and anger.
Don’t ruin your relationship with your children because of the resources you give. Your resentments regarding these resources are your responsibility. Here are a few guidelines for “Giving Resources Reasonably and Healthfully.”
1. Have realistic expectations for both the outcome of the resource and the appreciation your child will have regarding the resource.
2. Don’t make decisions about the resources you give during a crisis or when your emotions are running high.
3. Only give what you can afford. Don’t go broke financially trying to help, don’t emotionally give more than you can handle, and remember that your time must be balanced so that you don’t burn out.
4. Take accountability for what you have chosen to give and do not resent your child. Do not continue to give the resource over and over when your child chooses not to take advantage of what you are offering.
5. Model using resources you are trying to offer if it is possible. (e.g., going to your own therapy is the best way to get them to go to their own.)