….that is the question. But what is the answer?  Teens are a different breed. And for StepMoms who have young children of their own or for those who married and got an instant family, managing your relationship with your teen stepkid is unchartered territory. Even when you have a teen and your spouse has a teen, the dynamics are not easy. The teen years are tough on the child and tough on the parents, StepMom included.

As you probably know, I love bringing my Smom Community great resources. I’ve heard from many of you over the past few months that are struggling with defining the relationship between you and your teen stepchild. So when I found www.TalkingTeenage.com I had to stop and stay awhile. I am so impressed with their site and forum.

And then when I got to actually speak with Dr. Barbara Greenberg, one of the two co-authors of the site, I was blown away by her experience and sheer passion for helping parents speak the Language of Teenage. I’m convinced it is another language.

I was so impressed, I am reading their new book

Teenage as a Second Language by Dr’s Barbara R. Greenberg, & Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder

When I’m finished reading, I will post a review but until then I am sharing a piece that Barbara Greenberg was kind enough to share with me. Enjoy!

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$$ The Price Parents Pay For Being Their Teen’s Friend! by Dr. Barbara Greenberg

Parents consistently ask us whether or not they should be their teenager’s friend. They are torn, primarily, because they feel that if they are their teens’ friend then they will get to know them better. In fact, they may or may not get to know them better but even if they do, it may come at a significant price.

Here are our main concerns about befriending your teens:

1. In the role of a friend, parents lose their status as authority figures and are in less of a position to be taken seriously when setting rules and boundaries.

2.The role of a friend is to be agreeable and keep things harmonious. While parents also strive to provide a harmony: at times they may have to deliver information that is not consistent with being an agreeable friend. Parents need to be comfortable with their teens’ anger and need to understand that this is part of the parenting/authority role. This is inconsistent with the “friend” role.

3. As your teen’s friend you may start to confide in your children. Boundaries are at risk to get blurred. Teens don’t want to be their parents’ confidantes. They neither have the maturity or responsibility for such a role. If they begin to see their parents as needy, they may begin to worry about them. A teen who is worried about a parent often stops confiding and turns to others for emotional support and guidance.

Our takeaway message is that your teens already have friends. They need parents to act as parents and friends to act as friends.

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Interested in your thoughts????

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A note to my New York readers: Their next book signing for Teenage as a Second Language is on Sunday Jan.16 from 1-3 in New York City at Borders on 32nd and 2nd /  576 2nd Avenue. If you are in the area, stop by and say hi to Barbara and Jennifer and pick up their great new book.

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