January 23, 2018

How to Ask Your Teens

I had a valuable reminder this week on how best to handle teens, whether they do or do not have child behavior problems. In parenting a range of kids, sometimes crossing from age to age presents itself with unique challenges. It seems my teens get the short end of the stick with letting them become independent. Let me tell you what I mean.

I tell my 10-year old what to do more than ask him what he would do (I know, I know – I am totally working on letting him use his own brain more!). However, this telling thing not only does not work so well with my teens, it actually backfires resulting in anger or defiance for being treated like a “kid”. So this was the reminder.

Don’t tell a teen what to do, ask them “what are you going to do?” Let them talk through the situation and present their solutions. If you find that their choice is less than desirable, you can say “that is one solution, what is another?” James Lehman does say “that would not be my choice, but it is yours and we will see how that works”. All the time resist the urge to tell them the “best” solution because unsolicited advice sounds like criticism to them.

Then after they tried their solution, ask them how it went and what, if anything they would do differently next time. You could even incorporate some practice with helping them identifying their feelings by asking them how it felt going into the solution and how it felt afterwards. This would be a good jumping off point to maybe trying something different next time if it didn’t feel so well.

James Lehman has a no-nonsense but compassionate way about him and he has helped our family to learn to problem solve, and our house to become a calmer, more peaceful place. I totally recommend his Total Transformation Program to anyone that has difficult children they are trying to raise.

About the author: By

Julie is an awesome parent (along with her husband Matt) to five adopted kiddos and the owner of the Parenting Allies website.

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Disclaimer: We are not psychologists, counselors, or therapists. We are parents of children with special challenges, and the techniques, tools, and programs we recommend on this website have worked for us on our parenting journey.

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