I had a serious disagreement with my 16 years old. We resented each other for not seeing things our way. I was very upset thinking that all my efforts putting into raising him right had gone wasted. I desperately needed help and comfort.
I did a search on the Internet and found some pointer about the Parents Leadership Institute. I ordered a booklet called "supporting adolescents" from the site and had read it twice since. This is by far the best parenting advice I've ever gotten on parenting teens.
The article first rebutted the stereotyping negative attitude toward teens. It reemphasizes the teenagers are marvelous, hopeful, intelligent and wonderful. It taught me that my job is to become my children's allies. "They want us to be aware of the challenges they have to meet. They want us to listen to them, to work to understand them well. They want us to loan them our confidence when they feel unsure of themselves. But they don't want us to think for them".
The article outlined 5 practical steps to become your children's ally. What really helped me is learning to listen. It said "Your teenager will talk to you when it feels safe, not when it's convenient", "When your teenager talks to you, listen. Don't give advice", and "Any time you use more than a sentence, you've probably stopped listening."
I took the booklet's advice and learned to become an ally to my children. I still disagree with my son's decision but I support his independent thinking and acknowledge that he needs to do the activities that keep him hopeful about his life. By following the steps suggested by the article, I created new channels for my son to understand how much I love and respect him. We are both happier now.