Parental guidance is vital to a child’s development. During the formative years, we often say ‘no’ to our children to keep them safe and teach them about relationships and respect for others. For example, we tell them not to touch a hot stove top, not to hurt others, or not to cross a road unaided. As children mature into teens, clear boundaries help them to develop emotionally and build resilience.
Here are three important reasons why saying no to your teenage son is important:
- Emotional development
According to Family Therapist Lori Freson, "Children are not emotionally or developmentally equipped to make major decisions or rules, or to self-regulate.” While a teenage boy may think he knows what is best and wants to exercise ‘control’ of his own life, he needs clear boundaries that help guide him. Our aim as parents is to teach him what we know and help him to realise there is still a lot he has yet to learn. Communicate the reasoning behind the boundaries you have set so that he comes to understand the importance of making considered decisions.
- Tolerating disappointment and building resilience
Children that have every demand and whim gratified may fail to develop the skills necessary to cope with disappointment and frustration. It is important that your teen son is given the opportunity to process feelings of disappointment to build resilience that will help him cope when things inevitably fail to go his way in adult life. By saying ‘no’ to your son you will teach him that disappointment is a part of life and with your help and guidance, he can develop ways in which to cope.
- Decision-making skills
Teens don’t share your level of knowledge or life experience and are not equipped to make decisions like an adult. While your teen son may benefit from having clear boundaries, it shouldn’t mean protecting him from failure. Pick your battles – letting the smaller things slide will give your son the opportunity to learn from his own experiences – this will allow him to feel that he has some freedom in making his own choices and will allow him to learn from his mistakes. While saying no to a wilful teen can be difficult, it’s our job as parents to help our children stay safe, while also allowing them to develop the skills to become emotionally and physically healthy adults.
Parents, while wise and more experienced than their offspring, don’t always have all the answers. If you have trouble communicating with or managing your teen, enlist the help of others that your son respects and trusts. This may be an aunt, grandparent, or friend or even a church leader or school teacher. The same advice delivered by these influential people may be more readily accepted by your teen.
At Trinity Grammar School our mission is to provide a thoroughly Christian education for boys, imparting knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, recognising the importance of spiritual qualities in every sphere of learning. We actively encourage our students to grow in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man, so that they may become responsible, contributing members of society. We strive to promote the spiritual, academic, social, physical and cultural development of our boys, based on a biblical understanding of the Christian faith.
Trinity’s Pastoral Care guidelines focus on the fundamentals of good parenting — providing both care and discipline — enabling boys to grow into self-confident, trustworthy and resilient young men. Combined with an ongoing partnership between the School and home, your son will thrive in a consistent, caring and nurturing environment.
Our Life Skills Programme is part of a whole of School approach to health and wellbeing that enhances our boys’ capacity to be emotionally resilient and socially competent.
To learn more about the Trinity difference, and how we support boys through the demands of Year 12, download our Year 12 Life Skills Programme.