coaching, homework, teens, Working with teens

Your teen and you – No 4 – time to create a win-win deal


teen and parent negotiating

It’s time to get down and decide a win-win deal together and take turns speaking and listening to each other. For negotiations to be successful  create a situation where your teen will stay comfortable and alert enough to listen closely to you. The most important thing you can do is to keep any of your positive or negative emotions out of the negotiation. Instead aim to be helpful and positive about the agreement you are negotiating, but in a businesslike fashion, even when they are derailing the negotiation.

Here are my best tips when negotiating with teens:

  1. With teens who are extremely private, don’t stare in their eyes, stand higher than them, or even stand or sit very close to them. They might find that close proximity threatening and too personal. Instead, position yourself so that you can glance at or towards them occasionally.
  2. Speak briefly in short and simple sentences.
  3. Speak in a low, quiet, businesslike voice.
  4. Speak slowly and pause briefly between sentences, checking they have understood what you are saying.
  5. When they seem easily distracted, you might ask them to repeat your main ideas in a mild and helpful voice. Listen closely to their responses,
    • and if necessary briefly repeat any information they might not have heard, understood, or remembered.
    • Then check again that they have understood and remembered what you have said. Helpfully repeat this sequence until it is clear they are paying attention.
  6. If they interrupt you while talking you can choose to either stop talking briefly to listen closely to them to understand their concerns, or ask them to remember that point for when you are finished talking.
  7. There will be a time to ask for their opinion of what you have said. Listen closely to understand. Repeat what they have said until they feel you have understood them, then discuss any concerns they might have.
  8. Sometimes it is helpful when deepening your understanding of each others’ concerns to write down what those concerns are in a pros and cons list.
  9. Only accept win-win solutions or there is no deal. You both have to be relatively happy with the agreement otherwise you have one winner and one loser. However, the perfect agreement is hard to reach and you both might have to compromise on some of the things you wanted. Still, if you are both happy enough with the deal, then you have created a deal you can both live with.
  10. Take your time to find an agreement you both believe is the best possible one you could find. Sometimes you may negotiate for several days until you are both happy. There is no hurry to come to an agreement.
  11. Remember that all privileges relating to the agreement as  consequences are suspended until an agreement is reached. At some point this will negatively affect your teen and they will want solutions decided so that they can have their privileges back.

Put the final agreement in writing then you and your teen can always refresh your memories as to what was agreed. However, you can both agree to modify this agreement as you go along because situations change. I want to warn you that your teen might know you better than you realise. Many are shrewd negotiators who might push you to change agreements with them before you have had time to think coolly and calmly about what you really want, and what your bottom lines are.  So check out my suggestions on working with teens before you agree to any changes

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

coaching, goal-setting, homework

A positive discipline approach part 2: Fair agreements and consequences


A definition of consequences I like is, ‘something that follows as a result.

teaching your chilod to succeedWe create our own consequences in our lives. An excellent example of this for yourself as a parent is the positive changes you can create in your life when you focus on what you can change rather than what is beyond your control.

A fair and consistent coaching agreement is within your control and is the foundation of a successful and respectful positive discipline approach. A fair coaching agreement describes exactly what behaviours you expect from your child, what support they can expect from you, and all the related consequences.

Behaviours and their consequences must be clearly described so there is no room for disagreement, confusion, argument or disappointment and frustration. For example any ‘good student’ behaviour is behaviour that helps your child work well when being coached, and any ‘bad student’ behaviour is behaviour that stops them from working well. You can decide together what exactly  ‘good student behaviour’ and ‘bad student behaviour’  is; and then come to agreements about all the related consequences. I adapted ideas from The Assertive Discipline method  which has been written to help teachers control behaviours in classrooms, so that families can use many of the excellent ideas Lee Cantor describes at home with their children.

A consequence definition: Something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions. Find ways to give lots more positive acknowledgement and recognition of ‘good student’ behaviour, while still including negative consequences for ‘bad student’ behaviour. We often stop noticing the positive things our children are doing because we are so worried about the negative unhelpful things. If you don’t like the ‘bad’ and ‘good’ terms, you can find other words that work better for you. For instance, depending on the child, I might describe their behaviour as ‘acting like a mature student’ or ‘not acting maturely’ or I might use age as a measure and say that they are ‘acting nine years old’ or ‘acting younger than their age and three years old’.

I have found that positive discipline works for anyone. I use it with very young children, teens, young adults, and those children and young adults with disabilities. A strong belief underlying it is that our children choose moment by moment how they will behave; and even when a student seems to be out of control and seems unable to behave as a ‘good student’ does, they at some point choose to lose control and act badly, and so are still responsible for their actions. Read part of a series of emails exchanged with one of my families as they reclaimed their parenting power .

I believe that we adults often underestimate our children’s awareness and intelligence. I am still amazed at how fast a child can make radical changes in behaviour when they really do want the positive consequences and do want to avoid the negative consequences.  I have found that  children with disabilities are especially allowed to behave in ways that are considered unacceptable for children without disabilities. Don’t treat them as unable to change their behaviours. Maybe you think you are being most loving but perhaps instead you are limiting their options with your beliefs, and actually being disrespectful. Even the most extreme seemingly compulsive behaviour may be able to be modified. In my experience with my daughter who has Asperger’s Syndrome, and with other children and young adults with disabilities, many consciously and deliberately make choices about how they will act, even when that does not seem the case at the time; and when there are clear agreed-upon positive and negative consequences for their actions, behaviours that they seemed unable to change, are changed.

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails because I only write every week or so as I’m very busy working with children and their families, tending and growing my own life, and writing my book.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

 

goal-setting, self-care

Care for yourself first – think of oxygen masks


care for yourself firstAs the stewards remind us each plane flight – when you are suddenly in a situation without oxygen, you must care for yourself first by organising your own oxygen before you help your family.

Don’t you find this contradicts our training to care for others first? And when we care for ourselves first, do you notice we often feel guilty for being selfish.

Do you care for yourself regularly? Okay, we seldom  have to give our family oxygen in a airplane, but if you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to most of the following statements, you are not caring for yourself enough.

Do you find you often find it hard to deal with the daily demands from your family anymore?

You might notice with pangs of guilt that you feel as though you have run out of love and patience for them.

You might often feel tired, jaded, and grumpy, and feel swamped by the daily important, urgent family things you have to do.

The little things in life may lose their pleasure, and you feel bored with your life, and unappreciated and unloved.

Perhaps your house doesn’t feel a haven anymore and you would do almost anything to escape.

If you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to most of these statements – here is an important warning for you. Family relationships break down because the people looking after family members don’t have a system of self-care. We all need to regularly renew ourselves so we can lovingly care for others. To carry on the airplane image, you might be one of those people who in an airplane emergency  will be making sure their family can breathe first, and meanwhile they are choking in a vacuum.

If you don’t organise to care for yourself, who will? You are the only one who is responsible to care for yourself – not anyone else – not your partner, your children, or your friends. You are often the only one who knows what you need to do to recharge your batteries every week so that you can be there for those who need you. I can’t possibly guess what your oxygen source is, and maybe you don’t know yet.

care for yourself firstThis is how I decide what I can do to best look after myself. Every year I ask myself this question: “What one thing, if I did it, would change my life for the better?” Sometimes I find two or three things to do to positively change my life. Take time to think about the answer. Take as much time as you need. This is an exciting and possibly life-changing process. The change you can make is often quite simple, easily done, and not rocket-science at all and it does not  require lots of self-sacrifice on anyone’s part, However, it can positively change your life and your family’s life so that relationships remain strong, and home is again a haven and not an unpleasant workplace.

Write all possible answers down on what benefits you see from caring for yourself, and how you can care for yourself. Look at all aspects of yourself – your physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual sides. Here is a link to a wonderful teacher of mine – Stephen Covey  who has a plan I use to implement change. And check out  my goal-setting blogs for more ideas.

Sometimes we lose sight of what is really important in life, and so we get all tangled up in the little things. Work stress, irritations about others, jobs at home piling up and up, feeling sorry for ourselves and harboring unhelpful thoughts and past hurts. We often let poor food and exercise habits sneak up on us too. When we take steps to care for yourselves first, when we regularly give yourselves time to feed our souls, minds, and bodies, we are better equipped to care for our family and loved ones.

I encourage you to find out which one thing you can change in your life so you care for yourself first to better care for your family. When you become a more loving, empathetic, and happy person, your family will reap those benefits every day.

In my next post I will show you a simple way you can plan to  care for yourself first, and still be available to care for your family.

Warmly,

Anne