How to Talk to Your Teenagers About Protecting Their Reputation
Your child's reputation is important to maintain, because it might stay with them all throughout high school (and beyond). Furthermore, the consequences of a bad reputation can manifest in everything from letters of recommendation for community college to mental health. Furthermore, it can be impossible to reinvent yourself after a bad scandal (in other words, your actions have real consequences). This is why it is pertinent that your teens understand that they must keep their reputation in tact, so that they do not have to deal with any unnecessary drama. The following are ways that you can speak with your teen about protecting their reputation, and they have all worked for me.
1) Be Cool
Just be cool and straight forward. Teens do not like beating around the bush. As long as you say the facts to them, they will take your advice to heart. All they ever want is to be treated like an adult. Show them that you have enough respect for them to treat them as such. This approach will work well with any teen you consider mature.
2) Be Too Cool
Do you ever see a parent on TV trying to be cool with 'cool' slang and gestures? Rarely does this ever get a message across to a kid. However, you can use it to your advantage. You can act so uncool that it forces them to pay attention. Not only will you be getting the message across about protecting their reputation, but you will be showing them what it looks like when they do not.
3) Pay them Back
No one ever said to play nice. Sometimes your mean side needs to come out. If your teen is being a moody brat, then give them attitude right back. Use this along the lines of a lesson such as, "if you want your reputation to be a bitch, then this is what will be expected of you." Show them what being a bitch looks and acts like. This should show them that it is not very nice or attractive. Hopefully, your kid will grow some manners as a result.
4) Cause and Effect
Perhaps the best way to talk to your kids about protecting their reputation is to actually show it. You should pull up some stories online in which a teen made bad decisions that ruined their reputation. You want your teen to feel and see how difficult life can be after one bad mistake. Teens are vulnerable and prone to peer pressure. Teach them that it is OK to stand their ground. Perhaps once they’ve considered similar situations happening to people that you find online, they’ll be able to see how silly their situation is too. Peer pressure never looks as hard as it really is from the outside, and this might actually be beneficial. If they can look at this stranger and think “why would you ever agree to do that?” then they may be able to look at their own actions with a similarly discerning eye. They only need to believe in themselves - that is the best protection for their reputation.
5) Try Someone Else
Sometimes, teens feel uncomfortable talking with parents about issues such as these. If you do not feel like you are getting through to your child, then have a close friend or family member try talking with them. This can often yield surprising results. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an adult either. If you know your kid has a close friend who makes good choices, see if they would be willing to talk some sense into them. They may have noticed the same things that bother you.
6) Personal Stories
We’ve all been there. None of us has an immaculate reputation. Use this unfortunate fact to your benefit and see if you can relate to your son or daughter by telling them how you made mistakes in the past, and now that you’re older, you wish you hadn’t done them. Always be constructive though. Never come from a place of scolding or punishment. Come from a place of new ideas, sensible solutions and friendliness. You’re not making these suggestions because you’re unhappy with them (though you may be). You’re making them because you care about them!
In conclusion, you want your teens to be aware of the choices they make. Everything they do can and will reflect upon them. You want them to make smart decisions that will not hurt their reputation when it comes to grades, sex, drugs- anything. However, do not completely lose faith in your teen. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they will do the right things in life, because that’s what family’s for, always!
About The Author:
Yolanda Yanda writes about parenting and how to affectively communiate with children and teens. She also loves using www.flowerdelivery.net as a great pick me up for the entire family.
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