The most helpful parenting technique you will ever read about.
Ok so I know its attention grabbing but honestly it true. I have worked with parents for over 16 years now and most of what I do is helping them make parenting simpler - not easy, just simpler.
When things are simpler we get less stressed, trust in ourselves more and tend to make parenting decisions that are better for us and our family as a whole. In short, when you stop listening to the experts like me and start listening to your intuition and your own child, things get easier.
And that is what I spend most of my time doing - getting parents to listen more, first to themselves and then to their child.
Not so fast...
We seem to be under the illusion that there is a right way to do this parenting thing, well let me tell you there isn’t. Sure there are wrong things we can do but most of us don’t even stray into this field. Personally, I blame Supernanny for coming along with her naughty step and what have you, making us think there is a way. I’d like to see you put a 13-year-old boy on the naughty step.
When our child is little we can control them and therefore we tend to think that that is the style we should take forward with us into the teen years - that is our first mistake. Due to lots of changes in the teenage brain (a subject for another article) if you try and control your teenager, if you think you have all the answers then things are going to get mighty tough and complicated very quickly.
The best weapon in your arsenal as a parent of a teenager is curiosity. Because curiosity leads us to look at things differently, to wonder, to be become interested and to ask questions. Step treating the teen years as some strange human experiment sent to try us and just get curious.
If your teenager speaks to you in a odd way, instead of insisting they apologise and speak to you like the human you are, say something like, “That’s interesting what had you respond like that” watch the baffled look in their eyes and the possible snarky response, but like it or not you have got them thinking.
We can’t be asked a question without thinking of the answer, whether we want to or not.
Questions are your biggest ally in the teen years and are often overlooked, thinking that we have to know the answer and control every situation. This isn’t true; all you have to do is ask a question.
How do you do it, I hear you ask? You use one of my two favourite words of all time; two simple words that will get you out of any teenage parenting jam - How and What.
When you don’t know what to do or things are not going right, ask how or what questions. Hand things over to your teens and see what happens.
How are you going to make sure that you hand your school work in on time?
What did you think would happen if you did that?
How would you respond to this if you were me?
What do you think as a family we should do here?
You get the picture. Ask a question.
Your teen may not answer you, they may grunt and walk off, but they won’t argue, they won’t blow up and they will think about it. Furthermore, you won’t have added more fuel to the flames of your teen’s anger, which is often directed at you.
So stop trying to think you have to control everything - you don’t and next time you feel the need to step in and sort out something with your teenager, step back and ask a question instead.
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