How much is enough?

Joanne Te Paiho, March 2010

How much is enough?

When teenagers begin abusing and hurting either you the parents, or other siblings, how much is enough and what should you be tolerating from your young people. My thoughts are that it is about zero tolerance to the big stuff that has the whole household turned upside down. The big stuff I'm referring to is any type of physical or verbal abuse within your home. As parents what is your bottom line and what are the boundaries? For example, is it okay for your children to swear at you or their siblings and is it okay for them to hit out and break and smash things when they are feeling angry.

It's really important that you become clear about what you expect of your children, from the time they are able to understand . You wouldn't allow your friends or extended whanau to come into your home and do these things to you, so no, it's not okay for your children to be acting out in this way. Setting boundaries and following through with consistent consequences, will enable your children to make better choices.

It is our role as a parent to make sure our children know how to behave appropriately and how to express their angry emotions safely, without hurting others. Some ways in which we might do this is in our own role modelling. How do we react when we are upset or angry. Our little people are standing by watching our every move and if we want them to start behaving better, it needs to start with us first. We won't always get it right either when our emotions overwhelm us, but it's what we do most of the time that counts. It's okay for children to know that we are not perfect, but that most of the time we are behaving in a way that models to them some positive behaviour. Home, is the one place that our young people learn how to relate to others. The relationship they have with their parents and siblings becomes the fundamental blue print for the relationships they have with others in the future.

As parents, you are only human, and it is not your role to be exposed to abusive behaviour from your young people. If this is happening in your home it's really important that you seek help. We, at Parentline, can help by offering you individual or whanau Counselling to work through these issues. We also offer parenting groups, which may also be able to support you in your parenting role.

Nga Mihi, Jo