A Program To Help You Deal Effectively with Teen Problems
Learning to Speak the Language:
Basic Instructions for Parents
1 The LANGUAGE is communication —what your teen said and what you said (or did). In using the FORUM to ask a question, always describe a specific interaction — what your teen said (and did) and what you said (and did) in response.
2 In order to follow The First Rule, you may at times have to use leverage in order to get your teen's authentic attention. Review the examples given in the training module and online at gotteenagers.com. Leverage means that you may have to bide your time and swallow some of your teen's nonsense as she struggles to learn how power and freedom work and how to slowly accept social constraints. The best time to get her attention is when she wants something from you. Do you do her laundry, make her meals, "help" her get up in the morning, and drive her around? Use your leverage to revisit the interactions when you had to bite your lip and retreat! When you have her absolute attention because she wants something from you, go directly back to the interaction(s) when she blew you off.
3 Not making The Biggest Mistake (in order to follow THE RULE) means that you have to use Floating Power(remember?) and decide whether to react to content (what the teen says) or intent (when she's acting like a teenager, not a soon-to-be-adult).
4 After every contentious interaction, review exactly what you said and did with respect to the 11 Principles!You will very quickly discover which ones are the hardest to follow (for you). Practice, practice, practice. Remember what the mother (Carol H) interviewed on our website repeatedly said in so many words—"I'm still learning". Nobody can do this perfectly every time out, including especially me! I consistently made mistakes with our school kids even after years of practice. This is the value of Principle #11. Refer to it as often as you need to.
5 Here are the 11 Principles plus The First Rule and The Biggest Mistake.
6 Laminate this list. You'll be using it virtually every day. Pretty soon —if you follow these instructions—you will begin to think of your own words and your own terminology to use in specific situations with your teen. This is your own creativity, your own intuition, your own uniqueness beginning to come "online"! You have begun to activate what may have been a slumbering right brain hemisphere and the more quickly it awakens, the more powerful you will feel and the more fluently you will speak the LANGUAGE
1 You have a negative experience with your teen
2 How did it start?
3 Did you say or do something and your teens then said or did something or did the TEEN say or do something and you responded?
4 Depending upon which one it was, WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING THAT HAPPENED or WAS SAID?
5 Your RESPONSE to your teen, regardless of whether it was conversation (words) or action (behavior) should follow THE FIRST RULE, THE BIGGEST MISTAKE and/or one or several of the eleven PRINCIPLES.
. If you are dealing with something the teen SAID, immediately recall the FLOATING POWER example in your manual. When teens talk and act like the young adults they will soon become, the CONTENT of what they say (the words they are using) mean what they mean. There is no hidden agenda. The content matches the intent —but teens are, as you now know, always struggling with issues of power and freedom, so they often have an "agenda". When such is the case, you want to address the INTENT (the intent of the agenda) rather than the CONTENT (what the teen said).
7 If you are dealing with something the teen DID (behavior), there are no specific blueprints or models to follow. Your response should be guided by the Principles. You will need practice to master this. But be of good cheer. Your teen will always give you multiple—sometimes even daily—opportunities to learn! And teens are very resilient and flexible—meaning that it doesn't really matter how many mistakes you might make. Remember— you are slowly learning to totally change an entrenched pattern of communication between you and your teen. Learning a new language takes time...
8 Repeat 1-7 as necessary.
9 DO NOT discuss the training and what you are learning to do with your teen! At least not at first. Once you have become successful in speaking the LANGUAGE you can gradually let her in on the secret. Obviously, keep your training materials in a secure place.
Country Joe College
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