Parenting with Lorraine

A 30-year veteran Marriage Family and Child therapist, mother of five, and grandmother of 10, Lorraine Al-Jamie helps parents to acquire skills that enhance their ability to raise high-functioning and happy children.

The Terrible Twos and Adolescence

Although the terrible twos and adolescence seem far apart, they have much in common. Both are times when children feel a great need for autonomy. Since parents are well aware that children still need us to guide them, we cannot just throw our hands up and give them the freedom they want even though at times we may all be tempted to do so.

To help our children develop skills to become responsible adults, we must provide them with opportunities to make their own decisions whenever safe – and when the consequences of a wrong choice don’t overwhelm. This is the challenge. There is a fine line between deciding what consequence may be too hurtful and which not. It takes courage and faith for a mom or dad to watch their child do something that may cause them to fall down. But it is critical that we do just that so children can learn to be thoughtful and make wise decisions before the consequences become tougher as adults.

How we go about setting limits for our children also is critical. This depends on the age and emotional development of the child. Let us start with infancy. Until around two, babies are usually fairly compliant. And then what is often referred to as “the terrible twos” hits and parents don’t know what hit them. It is extremely important that parents don’t think of their children as being BAD. It is helpful if we view this stage as our child doing what he needs to, to learn more about how the world operates. He must push against limits to learn that they exist, and learn how to cope emotionally when he finds himself up against them.

The two-year old may throw a temper tantrum that often makes us feel helpless and may even tempt us to want to give in. Think carefully before you set a limit, and even more carefully before you change your mind about the issue. It seems bad advice to say NEVER change the limit you set, but be sure you are doing it even when you can’t stand another second of your child’s screaming and kicking his heels. The less attention we give a tantrum, the sooner it will end. This may mean some separation from the child until he quiets down. When he does, do not address the tantrum. In a loving way, return to the original issue and see it through. This may bring on another tantrum when the child is treated the same way, but when the tantrums don’t succeed the child will eventually learn and give them up. An important thing to be aware of is that intermittent reinforcement will keep a behavior going. That means that if we give in some of the time because we can’t stand the tantrum, we will ensure that our child will keep on using it to attempt to get his way. So be consistent once a limit has been set.

The same rule applies to an adolescent. But it is harder for parents to give their children more autonomy because the consequences of poor judgment are longer lasting.

This is another opportunity for our children to learn about the world before they face it as adults. It is important to give guidance in a tactful and respectful way, allowing children to feel competent and trustworthy while we set the necessary limits to keep them from grievous harm. Keep in mind that the opinion of their peers is very important to adolescents, and parents will often hear the argument, “My friend’s parents are letting him go to the party, so why can’t I go?” Because your answer is well founded doesn’t mean that your child will accept and give in. Avoid arguing. Simply set the necessary limit with no further discussion. It’s also critical that both parents be united on an issue. That needs to be worked out before the limit is set. An adolescent’s reaction may be subtler than the two year old’s, but just as disturbing. Pouting and back talk are common. Again, don’t get distracted by addressing that acting-out behavior. Set the necessary limit clearly and firmly and follow through without lengthy argument or discussion.

It does take energy to deal with these developmental stages and it is critical that you find as much support as possible. Having other parents who are dealing with the same issues to talk with can be very helpful in avoiding burnout. Demonstrating respect and confidence in your teenager will be very helpful in constructing a positive and effective relationship that will reap great rewards. tj

5人の子を育て10 人の孫を持つ、結婚・家族・子供に関するキャリア30 年のベテラン セラピスト、ロレイン・アルジェイミーが、賢く元気な子供を育てる力を高めるお手伝い


魔の2歳と青年期はまったく違うように思えます が、実は共通点が多いのです。どちらも子供の 自立心が旺盛になる時期です。さじを投げて子 供の好きなようにさせてしまいたいと思うこともあるで しょうが、彼らにはまだ大人の助言が必要なことは皆さ んもよくお分かりのはずです。

信頼できる大人になるすべを身につけられるよう、子供 には自分で決断する機会を与えてやるべきです。ただし、 誤った選択が重大な事態を引き起こさない範囲で。これ は難しいことです。痛ましい結果を招く決断かどうかに 明確な基準があるわけではありません。結果的に失敗に 終わるかもしれない子供の行動を見守るには、親にも勇 気と信念が必要です。しかし、大人になって取り返しが つかなくなる前に、よく考えて賢い決断をすることを子 供が学んでいくことは必要なのです。

子供に対して設けるルールのさじ加減も重要です。年齢 と精神の発達レベルに応じて考えるべきです。まず、幼 年期を考えてみましょう。2歳ごろまでは子供は比較的 従順です。しかし、いわゆる “魔の2歳”になると、親 は子供に何が起きたのかととまどいます。子供を“悪い” とは決して考えないでください。子供が世界を知るのに 必要な時期だと考えれば対処しやすいでしょう。いけな いと言われていることをやって、世の中にはルールが存 在することを知り、どう感情と折り合いをつけていくか を学んでいくのです。

ついわがままを聞き入れてしまいたくなりがちです。ルー ルを設ける前にはよく考え、変更する時にはさらに慎重 に考えてください。絶対に変更してはいけないとは言い ませんが、子供の泣きわめく声や地団太踏む様子にもう 耐えられないと思っても踏みとどまってください。かん しゃくは放っておけば収まります。子供がおとなしくな るまで一歩下がっていてください。かんしゃくは無視し、 愛情を持って当初の問題に立ち返って考え直してみるこ と。子供は同じようにされればまたかんしゃくを起こす かもしれませんが、効果がないと分かれば学習するはず です。気を付けなければならないのは、“間欠強化”は行 動を持続させるということ。つまり、かんしゃくに耐え 切れずに根を上げてしまうことがあると、子供はそれに 味をしめてかんしゃくは止まらないということを肝に命 じなければなりません。ですから、いったんルールを設 けたら簡単には曲げないでください。

青年期にも同じことが言えますが、この時期の方が誤っ た判断の影響が長引くため、どれだけ子供の裁量に任せ るかを判断するのは一層難しくなります。

子供にとっては、これは大人になる前に社会を学ぶ機会 です。子供の自我を尊重しつつうまくアドバイスを与え、 深刻な危険から遠ざけるために必要なルールを設けると 同時に子供に自信をもたせることが重要です。青年期の 子供にとっては仲間の意見が非常に重要であることを忘 れないでください。「友達の親はパーティーに行かせてく れるのに、どうして僕は(私は)ダメなの?」という論 理です。周到な答えを用意しても、子供は納得しないの で議論は避けることです。必要なルールを決めたらそれ 以上の議論はしない。両親が協力することも重要です。 ルールを決める前に共闘体制を組んでください。青年期 の子供の反応は、2歳児よりはマシかもしれませんが、 面倒であることに変わりはありません。ふくれっ面や口 答えは当たり前。ここでも対応しようとしてはいけませ ん。ルールを明確にしたら、あとは長々と議論しないこ とです。

こうした発達段階への対処にはエネルギーを要します。 できる限りの支援を確保することが重要です。燃え尽き てしまわないためには、同じ問題を抱える親同士で話す のが有効でしょう。ティーンエージャーの自我を尊重し 信頼することは、将来のために前向きで有効な関係を築 くのに大いに役立つはずです。 tj

This article appeared in Issue #271.Click here to order from Amazon

Written By:

Lorraine Al-Jamie

A United States House of Representatives Congressional Recognition Award Recipient, Lorraine is a retired licensed Marriage Family Therapist that specializes in assisting parents acquire skills that enhance their ability to raise high-functioning and happy children. She, herself, is a mother of 5 and grandmother of 10 and has spent the last 30 years helping young parents, children and adolescents work through their varied and many challenges. Prior to specializing in parenting, Lorraine worked for two decades treating children and adolescents at an out-patient center affiliated with Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in Long Beach, California. She has concentrated on teaching parents methods of interacting in ways that enhance the child's or adolescent's ability to make positive and effective choices. Parenting challenges often fluctuate between feeling helpless and somewhat ineffective, to heavy-handed and authoritarian. Being able to be an effective parent is a skill which needs to be learned and supported, and Lorraine has assisted parents by focusing on positive discipline approaches that assist in maintaining healthy relationships in the family while parents stay in charge of their children. Lorraine has helped parents deal with behavioral problems, impulse control problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity issues, compulsive behavior, dissociative disorders, trauma, relationship issues, depression, anxiety or fears, loss or grief and school problems.


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