Parent Teen Relationships: How to Get Through the Chaos

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Father and daughter share their own perspectives on the difficult years of adolescence and growing up in new book. The fact that each event is told from the father’s point of view immediately followed by the daughters is what makes it so unique.

Hormones, peer pressure, and struggle for independence cause chaos in the soul of a teenager. Issues such as granting autonomy, how much “attitude” to take, and what discipline is effective, challenge the parent. "Enjoy them now, they'll soon be teenagers!" The age-old adage has been passed on by friends and relatives, and combined with media images of teenagers as irresponsible, rebellious, troublemakers, can lead parents to expect trouble as their children enter puberty. It is uncommon for a parent not to approach a child's adolescence without some misgivings.

Jasmyn Klarfeld was what society would consider an extreme case of an out of control teen. From early years to teenager rebellion -- running away starting at 14, living “on the road,” hitching around the country, homeless, being raped and using drugs. “I don’t think Jasmyn was aware of the turmoil she was creating. A recurring theme Jasmyn had was saying “why do they care, it’s my life,” states Ken Klarfeld, co-author of “He Said, She Said: A Father Daughter Perspective” (ISBN 059536991X).

But family life does not have to be a battleground during the teenage years. Parents and teens can live together, more or less harmoniously, if parents know what to expect and are willing to make some adjustments in the way they think and act. According to Jasmyn Klarfeld, Ken’s daughter, and co-author of “He Said, She Said,” “A lot of times parents don’t understand where their teenagers are coming from, or how truly important the social aspects and feeling of having some control over their lives is to teenagers.” The teenager is worried about fitting in socially while the parents are worried about long term goals, such as college and a successful career.

“Parents need to get involved with all aspects of their kids life. Finding an activity to stimulate and motivate is the key to communication,” articulates Ken Klarfeld, Jasmyn’s father. As the teenager works toward independence and self-control, the parents’ attitude to their struggle is crucial to their success. Parents and teenagers will both do much better if parents can keep a sense of perspective.

However, it’s easier said than done. Teens are out of balance at the same time as their parents are struggling with their own mid-life crisis. While teens are in tears by each new pimple, parents may be stressing over each new wrinkle. While teens are gradually acquiring more personal power and creating their own identity, parents are often beginning to confront their own limitations and the loss of their own identity.

The bottom line? Jasmyn’s thoughts are “really listen to your kids, figure out what motivates and drives them, and then USE that to encourage the behavior you want from them.” In hindsight, Ken expresses “Create positive incentives for change. Find an outlet for your child to express themselves and be challenged. The best remedy (to get through chaos) is prevention.”

Ken Klarfeld is a licensed foster parent in the state of California. He currently resides in Eugene, Or. with his wife of 22 years and two young children. Jasmyn Klarfeld was recently the keynote speaker at the Hillcrest Correctional Facility in Salem, Oregon. She works fulltime as a sales executive while raising her two school age children. Jasmyn also plans to finish her degree in psychology.

“He Said, She Said: A Father Daughter’s Perspective” may be purchased at any online book store or from the authors.    


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Irene Watson