Thursday, January 7, 2016

Preventing power struggles

Radio Commentary

Parents may be relieved to know that there are positive alternatives to struggling with teens. The situation is never hopeless!

First, be sure to use friendly actions whenever possible. Young people are very tuned in to negativity and they react to it very badly. Sarcasm, for example, is never a good idea.

Second, use one-word messages whenever possible. It may be hard to focus your thoughts into a single word but it is well worth the effort to try.

Once you are focused, it is easier to get your child to focus appropriately as well.

Next, set clear limits and stick to them. It’s hard, but effective, to do this.

Teach students that when they say “no” they can do it in a respectful way. Remind them it’s not the “no” that can be a problem, but rather how it is delivered and what it seems to signify. Give them alternatives, and try to negotiate win/win outcomes.

Focus on priorities. Nothing gets communication off track more quickly than bogging down in trivial matters.

Give students appropriate ways to feel powerful. No one likes to feel powerless. It can be frustrating and it can lead to more challenges.

Finally, if a major blowup occurs, a cooling off period can often place many things into perspective for young and old alike. All these actions can help you and your struggling teen.