• Being Selfish Is Good For You And Your Teen | Dr Laura Dabney | Episode 94

  • Being selfish is good and essential for parentingHave you ever caught yourself telling your teenager they are being selfish? It may be time you followed their lead. It turns out being selfish is good. Actually, it’s essential if you’re going to be a great parent. Find out why we need to be selfish, what that looks like, and how it can improve our parenting. Sandy Fowler interviews Dr. Laura Dabney to understand the nuances of selfishness and how to use it to build a better relationship with your teenager.



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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    “We need to be selfish to improve our relationship with our child.”

    High Points of Our Conversation About Being Selfish:

    Being selfish can help your relationship with your teenWe need to be selfish to improve our relationship with our child.

    People believe, “If I help everybody and solve their problems then they will meet my needs”.

    Being selfish has gotten a bad rap. The fact is, we can only control ourselves and we need to take care of ourselves in order to be the best person we can be in our relationships.

    We have come to believe that neediness is bad or wrong. The truth is, we all have needs. It’s normal. We must understand that and believe it’s okay to have needs.

    Being a parent is the only truly altruistic job. You should not be relying on your child to fill a need for you.

    There are certain needs you should express to your child and others that you shouldn’t. If you have a grown-up need, trouble with finances, issues with their other parent, then it should not be expressed to your child. They should not be brought into grown-up problems.

    Our child’s job is to separate from us. This is a developmental milestone. If they feel we can’t handle our own life and problems then they can’t separate.

    If your child is yelling you should express your own need in that moment. “I understand something is wrong. The yelling makes me anxious so I need you to lower your voice, to bring the volume down so I can hear you and we can work on this together.”

    Taking away their phone doesn’t help with their development.

    If we react to their anger with our own anger then we can go back to our teen and talk later. “Hey, I’m sorry I yelled at you. I’d like to hear what you have to say.”

    You are demonstrating how you want them to behave in relationships they’ll have in the future.

    The dreaded eye roll can be a trigger for many parents. This, along with stomping and door slamming, are ways our kids distance themselves. If you can look past it then do so but if a particular behavior triggers you so you can’t, talk to them. You’ll want to wait until you calm down and perhaps until they’re calm too. “I don’t know if you know it but you have a habit of rolling your eyes when I talk. The feeling I get is you are totally dismissing what I’m saying. If you’re totally dismissing what I’m saying then we can’t have a conversation. Our relationship gets hurt with that. So is it at all possible for you to try not to roll your eyes?”

    When we speak to our teens like this we’re talking from our heart. This grows intimacy between you and your child.

    Parents need to hold boundaries for their own well being. This will allow you to be the person you want to be in your relationship.

    Kids want a parent who is competent, strong, comfortable with their own emotions. If they don’t see that in us then they won’t separate and it’s unhealthy for them. 

    While it’s painful to let our kids go, it is necessary for their emotional well-being. When they come back to us we can have a newer, more adult relationship.

    Parents oftentimes find themselves in an unpleasant pattern with their kids. You can head off that pattern with conversation. Having a talk with them beforehand, before the problem would typically occur, helps to start breaking the pattern.

    Our Guest Dr. Laura Dabney:

    Dr. Laura Dabney tells us when being selfish is good.Dr. Laura Dabney has been a psychiatrist in Virginia Beach, VA for almost twenty years and has treated patients in more than a dozen cities across Virginia, including Richmond, VA. Her psychiatric expertise has been featured on radio, podcasts, websites and in print media. She consults for a number of large institutions, including the Virginia Veterans Administration Medical Center. She received her MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School and has been Board Certified in Psychiatry.  She is a genuinely, caring & committed psychiatrist.  Dr. Laura Dabney, MD has made a career of taking on psychiatry’s toughest challenges from treating complex, combined medical and psychological conditions, to ensure the absolute privacy of powerful, high-profile patients. Dr. Dabney has, for decades, helped her patients change their lives for the better. And they recognize her for it.

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit https://www.lauradabney.com 

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