Tired of the fighting?
Are you struggling to connect with your teen? Tired of the fighting or the silent treatment and ready to eliminate fighting?
Learn how to take the energy of their anger and resistance and redirect it into change with these 5 simple steps.
Step 1 – Take a time out
Just like with a frantic team, a wise coach sometimes needs to call a time-out. The time out is for you as a parent to gain perspective – change the momentum of the debate – and reduce the tension in the game.
We have found that successful families have parents that take time out to assess their approach to parenting.
So ask yourself…
-what type of parent do I want to be?
-how do I want to be remembered when my teen grows up?
-What fears & insecurities do I have about being a parent and how are they affecting my teen?
Step 2 – Reflect on your role
Identify which one of these three methods your teen is employing as their defense against your requests.
The rebellious angry teen is so busy fighting against other people’s goals that they are unable to set their own and are thereby still being controlled by someone else. Of course to be successful the rebel needs someone to rebel against. Unfortunately, it is easy for us as parents to fall into this role, playing the challenger and telling the rebel what to do. The more you catch mistakes and confront, the more defensive they will become.
Other teens deal with demands by leaving either physically or emotionally. This can be as subtle as turning on the television, tuning out of a conversation, or as dramatic as running away. Those who distance themselves usually do so because they feel powerless and they don’t see any way to be themselves in a close relationship with the one they perceive as having all the power. These teens can appear to be very independent, but like the rebels, it is only a facade to protect their insecurity.
A compliant teens’ technique is much more subtle. They are willing to maintain peace at any price because the fear of conflict is just too great. It might seem strange to suggest that obedience is a technique to gain freedom within the home, but often teens are willing to conform outwardly while holding different beliefs internally. The freedom that they gain is a freedom within the heart and mind. If there is ‘acting out’ it will be secretive or delayed until they are out of their parents’ view.
Step 3 – Simply listen
Now that you have identified your own fears as a parent and determined how your teen is masking their true struggle – it is time for the third step in your dynamic move. And it is to simply listen. Recognize your teen is in a difficult spot but don’t try to convince them of anything. Confrontations will always lead to some form of resistance. Your teen is busy trying to establish their independence and prove to you that they are capable. So let go of the rope – it should not be a tug of war – the battle should not be with you.
Step 4 – Ask open-ended questions
Your questions should help them consider their current choices with the future in mind and stimulate elaboration like, “How do you see this happening?” or “What do you think you will do?”
Even if they are hostile or confused, affirm their passion to find a solution to the problem.
Remember that you are trying to build a relationship with them. It isn’t about getting them to do what you want. Or proving you are right.
Step 5 – Provide motivation
Like a coach motivating their team your teen will need to be encouraged and cheered on. Teens often feel very alone and are trying to negotiate a lot of instability that they feel exists in their lives. One of the best ways to create movement is through shared goals. Find simple goals you can agree on and work together towards those.
Believe in their abilities. Build on their strengths.
Teens don’t typically want to fail in life, but they get in binds and find it hard to escape. As a leader in your home, look for ways to release your teen by focusing on where they want to go – their hopes and aspirations – not their mistakes and past failures.