There are two kinds of assistance that parents can give their teens. First one is instructional assistance, the second on is inner mind or emotional assistance. And they take slightly different ways of delivering. Of course both of these types of assistance, we are not going to do as parents until we are invited to do it. The first the instructional type is the have to do it stuff and we are used to telling our kids everything. So, the way the shift happens is we are going to let them do the things they need to do, especially when we start to tell them and they start to say I rather do it myself mom. At that point we walk away, we say if you need me I will be in the kitchen, if you run into a problem just ask me, I am available; we walk away and let them do it. When asked we provide that instruction. The only covenant to this, the only place where I actually do instruction to begin with, is when it comes to things where they might get themselves in trouble or in harms way; like learning how to drive a car, operating a piece of property. With that I tell them right off the bat, I am going to show you how to do it, I am going to demonstrate it, I am going to let you do it and demonstrate to me that you can do it well and then I am going to walk away and let you do it. And at that point I am going to walk away and let him do it. With motional and inner feeling stuff, with that once again let them have their feelings, let them sit there and do what they need to do.
At the same time letting them know that whenever they would like to discuss it, we are here to discuss it with them. And when they do start to discuss their feelings, a very, very critical thing at this point is to let them finish talking about, let them finish their sentence. I know one of my problems with my son was that I would jump on his lines and what happens when you jump on a teenager's lines meaning you are already giving them an answer before they are finished with a question, even if you know where their question is going to go is that they feel that you aren't listening to them. And at that point they shut up, leave and you just lost your opportunity to some very good parenting. So, the deal here is you shut up, they talk. When they are finished talking, you stay quiet for long enough so that it seems even if you have an answer, it seems like you have been pondering their question and then you either give an answer or even better ask a question so they can come up with their own answer and that way they will start to be able to come up with their own answers and then you have been a really, really good parent.