How to set boundaries, guidelines and consequences for your teen

Setting rules, boundaries, guidelines and consequences can be a challenging aspect of parenting a teen. The ultimate intention behind boundaries and guidelines is to build relationship and connection, says Julie Faddis, Assistant Clinical Director at Shelterwood. “Boundaries help foster trust, and the end goal is for parents and teens to come together and develop boundaries as a team.” Here are five tips for creating boundaries and guidelines that work for your teen and work for you:

1.) Center boundaries and guidelines around love and trust.

It is important to understand the difference between rules and boundaries, Julie says. “Rules are fear-based, but boundaries and guidelines are more relational,” she says. “If you and your teen are struggling to have open communication, work on solidifying the foundation of trust and forming that positive relationship.

Setting appropriate boundaries, guidelines and consequences for your teen can actually add safety to the relationship, Julie adds. For example, Julie says, consider how we offer meal options to a toddler. “We do not ask, What do you want for dinner? Instead, we ask, do you want a hot dog or macaroni and cheese? Too many choices can be overwhelming. Guidelines create structure and security, as well as learning opportunities to cross boundaries, make mistakes and learn from them.”

2.) Create realistic boundaries and guidelines.

One common roadblock parents face is setting unrealistic boundaries that are not possible to reinforce. “Setting up boundaries and consequences that are not manageable or attainable is overwhelming for both teens and parents,” she says. Julie recommends defining consequences in detail ahead of time; for instance, how will your family define being grounded? Does being grounded mean your teen cannot go to soccer practice, or are only social activities prohibited? Answering these questions ahead of time makes sure you and your teen are on the same page.

As you establish guidelines, work on creating boundaries and consequences that are realistic for each of your children. Consider your teen as a whole: developmentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. The standard you set for an older sibling may not be the right fit for a younger sibling, for example. Plus, unique consequences show your teen that you view them as an individual.

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3.) Set consequences that are congruent with the behavior.

Another common obstacle for parents is creating consequences for the sheer sake of having consequences. “We fall into the trap that because the behavior is unacceptable, it needs a consequence,” Julie says. “The consequence needs to connect to the severity of the behavior.” An incongruent consequence is grounding your teen for a month when he or she arrives home 20 minutes after curfew. “A better consequence would be having to come home early for the next several nights to demonstrate consistency and trust.”

Teens who are developmentally able to do so should be involved in coming up with consequences. “Sometimes, teens come up with creative and often more severe consequences,” Julie says. “It can be as simple as asking your teen: What do you think the next move is? If you were in my shoes, what would you tell your teen?” This is also a good exercise in critical thinking skills, Julie says.

4.) Remain consistent in enforcing boundaries and guidelines.

Once consequences are in place, following through is key to success. “Lack of enforcing, or enforcing without consistency, shows your teen that you may not follow through with something else in the future. It becomes confusing for teens,” Julie says. Furthermore, consistency shows your teen the importance of keeping your word.

If you determine a different course of action than the original consequences, have a conversation with your teen about why you chose a different path. “There is room for grace, but explaining the reasons behind the changing consequence is key,” Julie says. “You can be open with your teen, and this builds trust. If parents consistently listen and empathize, reacting with support and understanding, it demonstrates investment.”

5.) Keep an attitude of love, no matter what.

Always separate your child from the behavior, Julie says. “If your teen makes a bad decision, it is so important they understand that you are unhappy with the behavior, but you love them so much, no matter what. Their action may be disappointing, but they are never a disappointment.”

“If parents consistently listen and empathize, and offer teens the support they need, that demonstrates investment and engagement. This shows your teen that you are someone they can come talk to. Your teen will know that even if you are disappointed, you will still act in love and they will still feel valued.”

Boundaries and guidelines do not have to be a source of conflict and frustration, and can actually bring you and your teen closer together. If breaking the rules is becoming the norm, we can help. Contact Shelterwood to learn more and start the admissions process.

Conflict resolution: Four tips to diffuse conflict with your teen

The clock says 11 pm when you hear the front door unlock. Your teen is finally home — an hour past curfew, and for the third time this week. When you and your teen are at odds with each other, a conflict can get out of control rapidly. In this moment of worry, panic and anger, you both raise your voices.

What started as a calm conversation escalated quickly: you are no longer having a discussion, but a shouting match. Sound familiar? Here are some tips to diffuse conflict and get back to healthy conversation with your child:

1.) Take time to cool off.

Conflict cannot be solved in the face of strong emotions. If the conflict has escalated to a point where you or your teen cannot stay calm, take a step back. Whether in ten minutes or even the next morning after a good night’s sleep, be specific with your teen about when you will resume the conversation. When you take time to breathe and regain your focus, you give your teen the gift of opportunity: both of you can choose your responses logically, rather than behaving in a way you may regret.

How to say it: “We are both feeling angry right now, and we need to cool off. We can both take half an hour to catch our breath and calm down, and then I will see you back here for a healthy conversation.”

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2.) State the problem using “I” messages.

If things are starting to sound less like cooperative, productive conversation and more like the blame game, shift the tone toward one of personal responsibility by using “I” messages. Conflict can easily put us on the defense. Speaking with “I” as the subject instead of “you”  takes conflict in a positive direction.

How to say it: “I felt worried when curfew came and you were not home yet. We agreed as a family to a 10:00 curfew on weeknights. I was expecting you on time. What happened?”

3.) Use reflective listening to restate what you heard your teen say.

Reflective listening demonstrates that we care enough to hear the other person’s side of the story. Rather than focusing on yourself exclusively, it fosters empathy. To show your teen that you are listening, restate what you hear your teen saying.

How to say it: “So when you are out with friends whose curfews are later than yours, you feel that 10:00 is not a fair time to come home. You feel that you do not have the freedom you want.”

4.) Affirm your son or daughter with a simple reminder that they are loved, valued and important.

In times of conflict, heart rates increase, our logic gets distorted and we often think in simple, black-and-white terms: I am good, you are bad. Stop the emotional flood by simply affirming your teen. This quick, effective exchange reminds your teen that you do not love her any less, and she is just as cherished now as she was before the conflict.

How to say it: “I am feeling frustrated about the problem we are having with your curfew, but you are more important than this conflict. I love you no matter what, and you are priceless. We are on the same team and it is us against the problem, not us against each other.”

Conflicts with your teen do not need to be volatile and negative, and how we deal with conflict determines the outcome. If conflicts are becoming the norm with you and your teen, Shelterwood can help. Contact us to start the admissions process.

Communication strategies for parents and teens

Recently, Shelterwood Program Director Rujon Morrison and Brain Balance Program Director Amanda Gunter joined forces to share communication strategies with parents. Their presentation “New Connections: Empowering Communication” walks through many facets of how parents and teens connect with each other.

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Rujon Morrison and Amanda Gunter discuss communication strategies for parents and teens.

During their conversation, Rujon and Amanda explore:

  • Various methods of communication, from loved-based vs. fear-based to healthy vs. unhealthy
  • How our unique temperaments influence the way we communicate — and the way we prefer to be communicated with
  • The components of emotional intelligence
  • Communication styles and attachment styles
  • How a teenager’s brain age and developmental stage impacts their communication
  • The relationship between IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence) — and how this impacts our ability to share our thoughts or share our emotions

Amanda and Rujon offer actionable ideas and tangible strategies to communicate while navigating the often turbulent teenage years, as well as how Shelterwood works with teens on communication and restoration. Listen below:

Conflict Resolution Skills

Sharpen your Conflict Resolution Skills

Company owner Mark dealt with conflict every day. If it wasn’t with vendors and clients, it was with his ex-wife or teenage son. Things started to change when Mark began using conflict resolution skills. “I used to add fuel to the fire by getting stuck in my position. Now I take a step back, breathe deep and listen. The more I do that, the easier it is to solve problems.”

Mark learned that conflicts don’t need to be volatile and negative. Conflicts can actually lead to an increase in understanding and creative thinking. It’s how we deal with conflict that determines the outcome.

In this era of school and work place shootings, road rage, and even supermarket rage, knowing how to resolve conflicts can save a life. Beyond that, conflict resolution skills can improve relationships and deepen understanding.

Step 1: Take time to cool off.

Conflicts can’t be solved in the face of hot emotions. Take a step back, bring some emotional distance before continuing. When you take time to breathe and regain your focus you create opportunities to choose your response rather than just reacting. If you try to skip this step, your words are often too emotionally loaded.

Step 2: Each person states the problem using “I messages.

“I messages” are a tool that expresses how we feel without attacking or blaming. By starting from “I,” we take responsibility for the way we perceive the problem.

This is in sharp contrast to “you messages,” which put others on the defensive and close doors to communication. A statement like, “you’ve left the kitchen a mess again! Can’t you ever clean up after yourself?” will escalate the conflict. An “I message” such as, “I’m annoyed because I thought we agreed to clean up the kitchen after using it. What happened?” comes across much differently.

When making “I” statements, it’s important to avoid put downs, guilt-trips, sarcasm and negative body language. We need to be non-combative and willing to compromise. A key in conflict resolution is, “it’s us against the problem, not us against each other.” “I” messages enable us to convey this.

Step 3: Each person restates what they heard the other person say.

Reflective listening demonstrates that we care enough to hear the other person out, rather than just focusing on ourselves. It actually fosters empathy.

Mark describes how he used reflective listening when he interrupted a shouting match between his ex-wife and teenage son.

“No sooner had I walked in the door to pick up Randy then he and his mother erupted into a battle. In the past I might have shouted for them to stop, only to be drawn into the fray. Instead I took a deep breath, gathered my thoughts and chose my words carefully. I calmly asked them each if they could tell me what happened. Then I reflected back what they said. My willingness to listen helped them listen too. They actually came to a compromise, something I’d never before thought possible.“

Step 4: Take responsibility.

In the majority of conflicts, both parties have some degree of responsibility. However, most of us tend to blame rather than looking at our own role in the problem. When we take responsibility, we shift the conflict into an entirely different gear – one where resolution is possible.

Step 5: Brainstorm solutions and come up with one that satisfies both people.

Resolving conflict is a creative act. There are many solutions to a single problem. The key is a willingness to seek compromises.

Step 6: Affirm, forgive or thank each other.

A handshake, hug or kind word gives you closure to the resolution of conflicts. Forgiveness is the highest form of closure. When you forgive somebody, you’re spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride. For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each other’s presence. Saying thank you or acknowledging the persons efforts at the end of a conflict sends a message of conciliation and gratitude. This preserves our relationships and strengthens our connections while working through problems.

In Summary

  • Tell the truth
  • Treat each other with respect
  • Attack the problem, not the person
  • Wait your turn to speak. No interrupting
  • Be willing to compromise

Emotional Decisions

Don’t let emotions screw up your decisions

Think about a time when you were weighing an important decision at work or at home. Such decisions are inherently complex, and no matter how much experience you have making them – working through the pros and cons of each choice can be overwhelming.

Your emotional reactions to these choices may help direct your attention and energy toward what you feel are the most important aspects of the decision. Yet intense emotions may lead you to make misguided or out-right disasters decisions.

Imagine, for instance, that you hit heavy traffic while driving home from work and are forced to miss dinner and your son’s basketball game. Frustrated and tired from work, you sit down on the couch only to be confronted with an important decision. Your daughter is asking to stay out late with her irresponsible boyfriend.

Even though the request is a separate issue and we all assume we have pushed our earlier frustration aside, Francesca Gino (Harvard Business Professor) has found that we are often unable to separate our emotions. His research emphasizes that emotions triggered by an event completely unrelated to a new situation often influence our thinking and decisions in that situation. In related research, Scott Wiltermuth of the University of Southern California, and Larissa Tiedens of Stanford University, found that anger triggered by something unrelated to the decision also affects how we evaluate the ideas of others.

They found that those who were induced to feel angry were less interested in evaluating others’ high-quality ideas. Anger appears to increase the appeal of criticizing others and their ideas. Our feelings can offer relevant and important feedback about the decision, but irrelevant emotions triggered by a completely unrelated event can take us off track.

The next time you get slammed with an unexpected workload or have an argument at work, consider how your emotional reactions could linger as you enter into the important task of parenting. Fortunately, we often can choose when to perform each of the many tasks required of us at home. This should allow us to evaluate ideas from others when we believe we are most capable of doing so objectively and thoroughly.

The Power of Words

Screen Shot 2015 02 19 at 11.03.39 AM 300x242 The Power of WordsHave you ever thought about the power that your words have? In one description, words are like seeds planted in the soil of one’s heart that have the potential to produce life or death. What we say to people has consequences that can affect them in the short- or the long-term. These effects can be detrimental to one’s development emotionally, physically and spiritually. Your words have power.

Can you recall a word or a phrase that was said to you that left an imprint that has affected your actions, the way you think, or who you are today? Some of those words were empowering, while others were disabling. Some of those words were so hurtful that they robbed you of your potential for greatness in your life to where every opportunity of success seemed distant. You missed that interview on purpose or decided to turn down that opportunity because those negative words from the past are still being played in your head. The reality is that people from all walks of life have experienced words and their powerful effects. The power of words can be toxic and can produce hurts and hang-ups that can be passed on from one generation to the next.

As a pastor and licensed counselor, I have seen the power of words produce emotional hurt and total discord in families. There’s a popular saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” The reality is that words DO hurt, and they can leave deep wounds that minimize peoples’ choices and devalue their self-worth. For example, I remember counseling a client who struggled with the hurt of being told by his ex-wife that he was a ‘loser’ and that he was ‘worthless.’ These words haunted him as he struggled with self-esteem and connection in other relationships. To diffuse his hurt, he turned to drinking alcohol. He finally lost his job and became very depressed. When he finally did get help, the affects of those words were set so deep that it took some time for him to expose the lies of those words. Words hurt, especially when someone you love speaks them, particularly when it comes to spouses or parents. Because you love them and value what they say, their words have more weight and can sink in deeper than words said by others that you don’t have an intimate relationship with.

Parents have a lot of power in how they influence their children. Children learn a lot through modeling and if we are modeling words of negativity, then we are teaching our children tools of destruction. When words are constantly spoken over our children, they learn to believe those words. Those words become ingrained in their minds, and then in their hearts, to where those words have set root and become automatic beliefs. For instance, a child can be called “stupid,” or “idiot,” or “incapable,” so many times that one day the belief is acted upon, and then parents act surprised when they see the power of their words acted out. I’m not placing blame, but pointing out a reality that happens in our homes. It is easy to create a culture that manifests a conditioning that can scar and trigger children to believe lies instead of the truth that everyone has potential for greatness. I know we as parents believe this and we want what’s best for our kids; yet, at times when we speak to them, we are not mindful enough of how our emotions, tone, and body language might communicate something that we don’t want our kids to internalize.

Screen Shot 2015 02 19 at 11.02.22 AM 266x300 The Power of WordsMany kids internalize words or ideas that have been said and will grow to believe them. Children from ages 1-5 years old are like sponges that soak up all that is modeled for them. If damaging behavior and speech towards them continues, those words can produce behavioral patterns that can later be devices leading to discord. I have seen this so many times in teenagers who devalue their parents thoughts and opinions because there were more words of destruction spoken in their homes than there were words of life. The outcome is that when these kids grow up, they can carry on the cycle to the next generation. How can we break this cycle? How can we use our words to bring life instead of destruction?

Consider this practice: speak LIFE. Speaking LIFE is a phrase to remember before speaking negatively. It takes some work because some us can be impulsive, but when rooted in love and a conscious effort to model success to your family and friends, the process becomes easier. Here are some practices to remember by using this acronym of L.O.V.E.:

L-ove – Speak out of Love, never out of hurt or negative emotions.

I-ll words – If you do speak hurtfully to someone, take ownership and commit to restore that relationship because you value that person.

F-orgive yourself – We make mistakes, but don’t stay there…break the cycle.

E-xemplify – Speak with control, love, and safety.


Watch — Students create their own video to express the change in their identity – watch the words change !!


Paul Po Ching,  MA
Admissions Counselor

Validating does not have to equal Agreement

Screen Shot 2014 12 15 at 3.56.41 PM 300x133 Validating does not have to equal AgreementHave you ever shared something that weighed heavily on your heart and had your partner respond with, “You shouldn’t feel that way”? How frustrating! We all want to be understood and having someone tell us they think we are wrong for feeling the way we do does not make us feel understood.  The skill I encourage in couples the most is validating one another.  In my last email, I explained how important it was to listen to understand.  Once you believe you understand how your partner feels, then it’s time to validate them.

Validation is an action completed by the listener with the goal of informing the speaker that he or she has been heard and understood.  If your partner has communicated that they are frustrated with how you treated them last night at the dinner party, validation would sound like this: “I understand that you feel hurt by how I treated you last night.”  After you say this you’ll need to wait a little bit.  Don’t go into your side of the story.  Goal #1 is for your partner to feel understood – now that has been achieved.  Going into the facts or your defense will only undermine your goal.  If you really want to explain what you were thinking or intending, you’ll have to wait until the dust has settled.

I often tell couples that after validating they need to wait until the concrete sets up.  After concrete is poured you don’t go stomping around on it unless you want to mess it up.  Let your validation setup before you go and present your side of the story.  You might not even need to tell your side of the story.  You could just say, “I am sorry I hurt you. I will make an effort to be more conscientious of how I treat you in that setting next time.” Don’t worry about the facts – be more concerned with resolution and moving forward.
Validating doesn’t necessarily mean that you agree with or accept your partner’s point of view. When you validate them, you are simply letting the speaker know that what he or she has shared makes sense and that you understand them. It only has to be a few sentences (sometimes even less), but validation is a vital part of healthy communication.

Validating equals Understanding
Validating does not have to equal Agreement

Do you feel validated by your partner? If not, then lead by example.

When our partner does not validate us, we often feel misunderstood or rejected. Validation is the bridge that brings two people together. You might be track­ing your partner’s message in your head, but if you don’t give them some indication that you understand him or her, they will most likely feel distant, invalidated or unimportant.

When two people are engaged in a heated conversation, validation can be a difficult skill to keep in mind. How­ever, validation is one of the most important, if not the most important, skill to develop for healthy communica­tion within your relationship.

I encourage you to listen to understand your partner today and then validate them by letting them know that you understand what they are saying and feeling.  Connecting is as simple as that.

If you and your partner want more skills and want to make your marriage the best it can be I encourage you to invest in The Marriage Program.

You can do this!

Grace & Peace,

Joshua Emery (Former Shelterwood Therapist)
Program Director at Relationship Architecture

How do I get my teen off the couch?

Getting your teen off your couch is often says more about your parenting skills than it does about the teen.  We all need a little Parent Training because we tend to lack the courage to follow through on our directives.  If it is time to take back your home this short Parent Training might be for you.

1. No problem for you.

    • When we rescue the teenagers in our lives from difficulties THAT THEY COULD manage, we teach them two valuable lessons.  One, they can get others to do their work.  This produces entitlement and in working in mental health for a decade, I can say nobody who is entitled is happy.  No one.
    • Teenagers won’t do work that somebody else is willing to do for them.  You were that way when you were a teenager.  I was too.  And I was good at it!
    • Parents should believe enough in the teenagers who are in their lives to empower them through serving in a consultant role.

2. Offer choices.

    • As you are listening, encouraging, consider offering some choices if the teenager is stuck.
    • Remember your presentation of possible choices is YOUR job.  Choosing and enacting them is theirs.
    • Caregivers need to remember that a teenager can only score a goal if the teenager possesses the ball.

3. Consequences only.

    • Consequences are the teacher.  Enjoyable consequences and not so enjoyable consequences.
    • Many folks who support teenagers, including me, are incessantly tempted to REMIND students of what they learned.  I can then become construed fairly as condescending and the teenager then works to prove to me that they didn’t learn anything.
    • Remember, none of us like other peoples’ ideas as much as we like our own!  So we can smile, listen, love, consult, hug, then leave.

4. Don’t warn or remind.

  • With regard to warnings and reminders, I have learned two things from the teenagers God places in my life.  One, they teach others to not own what the adult intends the teenager to own.
  • If I remind a teenager 5 times to get off the Wii, then I’ve just taught that teenager that he doesn’t have to listen to me until the 5th time.
  • The real world doesn’t usually offer reminders.

5. Don’t justify or defend.

  • When we justify our authority, it’s because WE don’t feel you have enough of it; that’s about us not them.


Parent Training reminds caregivers that a teenager can only score a goal if the teenager possesses the ball. Call to find out more parenting tips

5 Tips to Communicate Accountability

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.

Eliminate Fighting

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.