Struggling with your Teen?

Thursday 8:11 am
Boulder, CO

Good Morning,

Today’s post is about control…

… who has it, and who doesn’t.

When the death of Osama Bin Laden, the world’s #1 most wanted terrorist, was first reported “We Got Ya!” t-shirts, for sale on the world wide web, captured the sentiment expressed by President Obama when he said, “Justice has been done.”

At the same time, government officials called this a”DANGEROUS MOMENT!”, saying…

“We cannot become complacent, the fight is far from over,…
… Bin Laden’s death could result in retaliatory attacks
in the U.S. or against our interests overseas.”

The collective sense of relief we feel over the death of Osama Bin Laden is tempered by fear of retaliation.

Who do you think has the upper-hand? Who do you think is in control in this moment?

Think about it.

Now… I’d like you to consider these three sentences:

1) Systematic use of violence, terror, and intimidation to achieve an end.

2) To coerce by intimidation or fear.

3) Punish the people who are doing wrong, so they will do what we say is right; then reward them, so they keep doing what we want them to do.

How do they compare to one another? What are they saying? Do they have the same or a similar meaning?

Finally, how would you compare your parenting style to the statements above? You probably wouldn’t. You probably would say your parenting style is nothing like that.

What about your teens behavior? How does it compare to the three statements? Does his or her behavior reflect the meaning in those statements? If your teen is consistently obnoxious, disrespectful or abusive, then I’d suggest that it does.

What would you say if I told you that number 1 is the definition of Terrorism?

Systematic use of violence, terror, and intimidation to achieve an end.

How about if I told you that number 2 is the definition of Terrorize?

To coerce by intimidation or fear.

What would you say, if I were to tell you that number 3 describes the predominate method used by “agents of government, parents, teachers, business managers and religious leaders” to control, coerce and force members of society, children, students, employees and religious followers to do what they want them to do?

Punish the people who are doing wrong, so they will do what we say is right; then reward them, so they keep doing what we want them to do.

All three are forms of what William Glasser, M.D., renowned author and psychiatrist, calls…

… EXTERNAL CONTROL PSYCHOLOGY.

Many parents unknowingly use external control psychology to control, coerce and force their children to do what they think is right. In return, most children behave in one of two ways.

They either a) react by rebelling or b) they respond by adapting. Both of which limit the choices available to the both the child and the parent.

The child who rebels is often cynical, and is seen as having a chip on his shoulder. He may be labelled as out-of-control. This is his best reaction to a world that is trying to control him. His parents feel helpless and powerless. They don’t know what to do. Their efforts at punishment and reward only seem to make things worse. Nothing they do seems to work or help

The child who adapts often has good grades and may be labelled as a “model-student”. This is her best response to a world that is trying to control her. Her parents are pleased that they have such a well behaved daughter, but are often confused as to why she seems so unhappy. Their efforts to engage her often seem to make her more listless and uninterested.

Unfortunately, both children, the one who rebels and the one who adapts, are left feeling as if the world is in control.

To counteract this feeling of loss-of-control, many teens will use the same external control psychology on their teachers, on authority figures, on their siblings and, yes, on you, their parents.

This is often where your sense of powerlessness comes from as a parent. You are trying to achieve an end with your teen, like doing homework for example, by choosing to coerce, force, compel, punish, reward, manipulate, boss, motivate, criticize, blame, complain, nag, badger, rank, rate and withdraw.

In return, your teen is trying to achieve a different end, feeling more in control, by behaving in a obnoxious, disrespectful or abusive way on one end or by being compliant, docile or acquiescent on the other end. What you are left with is a …

… POWER STRUGGLE!

And often it is the teen who has the upper hand. Proof of this is found in households across America where parents feel afraid, intimidated, confused and powerless by their teenager’s behavior.

So what’s the answer? How do you create a calm and peaceful home without being too permissive? How do you create cooperation without it being a fight every time?

Dr. Glasser says we need to replace the destructive behaviors of external control psychology.

“To achieve and maintain the relationships we need, we must stop
choosing to coerce, force, compel, punish, reward, manipulate,
boss, motivate, criticize, blame, complain, nag, badger,
rank, rate, and withdraw. We must replace these destructive
behaviors with choosing to care, listen, support, negotiate,
encourage, love, befriend, trust, accept, welcome, and esteem.”
Choice Theory by William Glasser

In other words we must choose to place our relationships — with our families, our friends, our co-workers and, yes, our children — above being right.

There’s no sense in having a calm and peaceful household if your child never speaks to you. There is no sense in having cooperation if your child resents you for it.

In our global community external control psychology is the status quo. Dr. Glasser says…

“It is the psychology of our ancestors, our parents and grandparents,
of our teachers and leaders, of almost all the people we know or
know about. Coercion, to try and get our way, has been with us so
long that it is considered common sense, and we us it
without thinking about it.”

Terrorists, like Osama Bin Laden, used it. Those who follow in his footsteps will continue to use it. As will our government in it’s efforts to try and protect us and our interests.

In your house, though, you can choose a different path. In your relationships — with your families, your friends, your co-workers and, yes, your children — you can choose to try something different.

You can choose to honor your relationship over being right. You can choose to care, listen, support, negotiate, encourage, love, befriend, trust, accept, welcome, and esteem. This is what mentoring your teen is all about.

You can choose to see your teen as a problem or you can choose to see your teen as an equal who has a different level of life experience.

You can choose to punish your teen for every mistake or you can choose to help and guide your teen so that he or she develops into a confident, productive and happy adult.

You can choose to do everything for you teen or you can choose to help your teen discover how to be self-directed and self-disciplined.

You can choose to wait in terror and count the days until your teen turns eighteen or you can choose to support your teen in creating a future that is full of challenge, opportunity, growth, hope and happiness.

What will you choose?

Children need strong, loving, positive role models. To learn about how mentoring can provide the guidance and leadership your child needs or to set up a FREE 30 minute consultation Click Here.

Have a DYNAMITE day!

Henry

 

 

 

 

 

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