Four Ways to Honor Your Teenager
Honor is a critical component of positive mothering. Drs. Gary and Greg Smalley provide four methods of communicating honor to your teen in their book, The DNA of Parent-Teen Relationships: Discover The Key to Your Teen's Heart.
1. Give Your Teen a Respected Position
Show your teen you value and respect him by giving him a place of honor. Perhaps there is a conference you will be attending that you know he would enjoy. Or maybe you can let him borrow your car for a special occasion. Show your teen that he is a respected member of the family.
2. View Your Teen as a Treasure
In the hectic pace we live, sometimes we take for granted those we love most. But make sure your teen knows that he is highly valued and loved. Think of him as a priceless treasure that needs care and attention. The Smalleys describe it this way: "With all its physical changes, insecurities, and peer pressure, adolescence can be a cruel stage of life. During this awkward time, however, you can give your teen [a great gift]: incredible self-worth seen through the eyes of someone who considers her priceless." Tell your teen how valuable he is and how much you love him unconditionally. Then be sure to show your love by spending time with him.
3. Be a Model for Honor
If you want your teen to honor other people, be a model for honor with your own actions. Make sure your actions match your words. The Smalleys explain, "If your teenagers are to develop an appreciation of honor, they first need to see it in you. We're not saying they shouldn't honor people unless they're honored first. But it's a fact of life that teens (or any children) rarely do something they haven't first seen done by their parents."
4. Create a Safe Environment for Discussion
When your teen opens up about his life, don't instantly retort with judgment or criticism. Instead, show interest and curiosity in his friendships, interests, and dreams. When he fails, give him compassion instead of saying, "I told you so." The Smalleys warn, "Judgment acts like dishonor. Judgment closes people up and shuts them down. When people feel judged…they usually want to defend themselves and maybe even go on the attack. Much better things tend to happen when we suspend judgment (on both ourselves and others) and replace it with a genuine interest in the other person."
Giving your teen honor will not only help them feel valued and loved, but will teach him how to treat himself and others with respect and dignity.