These are five great ways to develop accountability within your relationship with your teen. These steps look simple but they do take some practice…. we dare you to give them an honest shot.
1. Wait until calm.
- We don’t do good work when we’re angry.
- The 93% of a message that’s communicated non verbally doesn’t lie.
- When we engage while angry, teenager focuses on our anger not there misbehavior
2. Stop talking sooner.
- Teenagers don’t especially enjoy or appreciate adult speeches.
- People don’t appreciate lectures and generally don’t like the ideas of others.
- Famous communicator, Dale Carnegie, reminds us that people like their own ideas not those of others.
- Actively listen, reflect, and promote exploration of THOSE (their ideas)
3. Lock-in empathy.
- This is the cornerstone of both Love and Logic and proficient interpersonal relations.
- This cannot be faked; especially with teenagers who are walking, living, breathing, polygraph machines.
- For example, explore the Fruit of the Spirit Paul writes in Galatians chapter 5. We can’t fake those.
4. Listen and confirm
- Teenagers don’t always need to have their way, they do always need to have their way listened to.
- We all crave a listening ear more than we do an open hand.
- Teenagers don’t need us to do everything for them.
- Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development. Folks 13-18. Identity versus role confusion. Learn it. It will bless you.
- Listen and validate their feelings (not necessarily their behavior: Proverbs 15: 1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
5. Problem for teenager.
- When we consistently rescue teenagers from the low to no risk challenges in their lives, we actually rob them of learning opportunities they need to develop feelings of agency over their lives.
- Often, we as caregivers for teenagers, want SO much to reduce our perceptions of their struggles, we rescue them. This sends a potent, damaging, and unspoken message that the teenager is incapable. Who wants to teach the teenager in their lives THAT? Adolescents learn from two vehicles only: Experience and Example.
- We focus on supporting teenagers through loving and empowering accountability.