It’s Your Turn #5; Limit-Setting Adolescents

It’s your turn #5 is a situation that often perplexes parents of adolescents. You’ll find a typical example in the subplot of my novel Intensive Therapy: A Novel.

Your teen-aged fraternal twin son and daughter want to spend several weeks of their summer at music camp. Even though you can afford it, you think it would be good for them to pay for part of it with money they earn during the school year, but they claim they’re too stressed by all their activities, homework, and community service work to take on a job. The children have adopted a “divide and conquer” strategy that has you and your spouse arguing about what’s best for the children. What next?


Marylou Porras The parents have to be one in mind regarding the future of their children. I would think that the education goals would be a priority,and if adding music camp to their already full schedule is of great benefit then they should consider the investment as well spent. The children do need to learn responsibility, it seems to me that they are showing absence of responsibility by acknowledging the fact that they have a full and stressful schedule.maybe doing some compromise regarding their community involvement might allow them some time to work and earn some of the funds needed

Anthonette Lee I most certainly would let them know that although it may seem right now that dad an I are divided , we are on the same side. Dont try to divide us. Been their done that. And while Im giving the kids that part of my mind my husband would look at my face and say to himself , oh shit I think I better agree with her right about now or My ass is grass. Then we would pay for camp, like parents should but they would pay for the extras

Response to and from commentators:

Jeffrey Deitz: Parents are unanimous: don’t let the children play one of against the other. It can be tough to say, “No” to your kids, but parents aren’t there to be friends.

Children must learn to pitch in and compromise, attributes needed to form stable and enriching relationships. The family unit is the breeding ground of these life skills. It’s great to do community service, but as is often said, “Charity begins at home.” When parents don’t model saying, “No,” or “We need to find a workable compromise,” children don’t learn how to say, “No,” to themselves or come to terms with the notion that compromise is not a win-lose situation.

In my practice, when parents say, No,” I don’t often hear teenagers respond in the moment, “Thank you for setting limits and making me a more responsible young adult!” But it is remarkable how they internalize their parents’ strength of character and are able to say, “No,” to temptation and use compromise to enrich their long-term relationships. It may not be until years later, when they have matured or become parents themselves, that these youngsters thank their parents for teaching them these skills of a lifetime.

One of the most ego-enhancing, self-esteem building activities a youngster can do is have a successful experience doing a summer job. It teaches responsibility, impulse control, and relationship skills. I’m all for developing artistic proclivities, but I know that the developing teenager will work harder and learn more at art camp when they’ve paid for it themselves.


Laicindia Curtis You have hit on the head . Kids don’t get it until they become parents them selfs but as children we the parents are the bad one.

Paulette Jackson Exactly these kids don’t need a friend they need a old fashion mom and dad in their life and don’t forget the strong grandma,granddaddy. also when we was little it took the whole community to watch their kid. but now today you tell someone that their children or child doing this and
that they don’t believe you at all when you go and tell the grow up that you see their children doing something first thing they tell you oh you lie on my child i believe in old fashion we problem need to go back old school a teach these young parent how too be parents and not a friend only when in need too be a friend but right now these parents need to get it together because we is lose a lot of children with guns today and it’s very sad we got too pray harder


Look for “It’s Your Turn: #6 coming soo. Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments.

For more about Intensive Therapy: A Novel visit Twitter: @JDeitzMD  #Itsyourturn

See you soon.