“Do not let allow negative thoughts to enter your mind for they are the weeds that strangle confidence.” Bruce Lee
Friday, 8:15 a.m.
Today’s post is about how to start controlling your teen’s behavior, right now.
The words we use when we speak and the way we treat ourselves are all an extension of what we think on regular basis. They are an extension of what we believe.
There are many parents who believe they are powerless to influence and control their teen’s behavior, and consequently they are. They are literally helpless.
It is like a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you believe you are powerless to influence and control your teenage son or daughter, then you will behave and speak in such a way that brings your belief into reality. You will automatically choose words that lack authority and power. You will repeatedly act in ways that fail to command you respect and obedience.
On the other hand, if you believe that you have the power to influence and control your teenage son or daughter, then you will naturally speak and behave with confidence and assertiveness. You will choose words that convey strength. You will speak in a tone of voice that commands attention. Your actions will be clear and controlled, conveying without words the message that you are “the boss”.
Do you doubt this?
For thousands of years men have rushed into battle, risking life and limb, inspired by nothing more than the beliefs of their leaders. Spurred on by their words, the inflection in their voices and their physical presence. You can do the same. It’s no different. If you believe in yourself, then your children will believe in you too.
It is true that by the time your child reaches the age of adolescence your ability to physically control what he does is greatly diminished if not gone entirely. In fact the only person’s behavior you can actually control is your own. But that is a wonderful thing. It is a wonderful thing because it’s your choice.
You get to choose what you say, how you act and what you believe. You can choose to do nothing, which is OK. You have the right to live your life any way you choose, but it wont help you control your teen. Or you can choose to change. You can choose to change what you say, how you act and what you believe. You can start to influence and control your teen’s behavior, today, by simply believing that you can.
- One, you must be clear about what you want to have happen.
- Two, you must take control of the situation immediately by how you carry yourself, by your tone of voice, and by the words you choose.
- Three, you must communicate to your child what you expect in words he can understand.
- Four, you must stick to your word and follow-through on any commitments you make.
Much of the trouble parents run into with their children is because they are unsure of what to do, how to act or what to say. This uncertainty is like fear to predator. They are drawn to it like moths to a flame. Once they sense it they latch onto it with the tenacity of a pit bull. Teenagers are the same way.
When they sense weakness, uncertainty or the slightest bit of fear they attack without mercy. Your only recourse then is to break contact, regroup and prepare for the next time.
Here is how to do it.
When your teen is swearing at you or yelling or being abusive or all of the above, instead of escalating the situation by yelling and swearing in return, you should say, in the calmest voice you can manage, “I will not tolerate you speaking to me this way. When you are ready to speak with me without yelling and swearing, then we will talk.” Then simply turn around and walk away.
Instantly, you have gained the upper hand. You are controlling your teen’s behavior by controlling yours. Your teen now knows that in order to talk to you he must control his anger. He now knows that he can’t intimidate you by yelling and swearing. He now knows who’s “the boss”.
If you are in public, add this, “I am going to the car, I expect you to meet me there in five minutes. If you are not there, then I am leaving and you will need to find your own way home.”
If you don’t believe me try it for yourself. The next time your teen acts out just walk away.
Better yet, the next time you are enjoying a “peaceful” moment with your teen say this:
“Hey Tommy, I’ve been thinking. It seems to me that whenever we have a disagreement about one thing or the other it always ends in a yelling match. In the future when this happens. I am going to walk away until we both can speak calmly and collectedly. I think we will be much better off that way.”
By saying this, you give your teen notice that, in no uncertain terms, you will no longer be bullied by yelling, swearing or other abusive behavior.
Key phrase — acting fearlessly is not the same thing as not being afraid.
If you are afraid, if you are unsure of what to say and how to act, then act “as if”. Act as if you know exactly what to say and how to act. Act as if you you are totally and completely sure of yourself. Act as if you are not afraid, even if you are shaking like a leaf on the inside.
You can influence and control your teen’s behavior today, simply by believing that you can.
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