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

Positive Discipline 4: Clinching a fair deal


A positive discipline approach: Consequences
negotiating with your teen

Many family coaches waste valuable energy and coaching time because they either listen to their child too much and feel powerless and exhausted by the excessive arguments and discussion, or they are afraid of losing control of the coaching situation, so don’t listen enough and their child feels powerless.

The positive discipline approach means you both have enough power and control when coaching because you and your child both understand that they are in charge of their behaviours, and through choosing ‘good’ or ‘bad’ student behaviours, they choose the associated consequences. Your role as their coach is to step out of the way as they make their choices, and then make sure that the consequences always happen.

Step two: Make a coaching agreement with your child that you both find fair.

The purpose of the agreement is to create a positive and respectful coaching environment that you both are responsible for maintaining.‘Good’ and ‘bad’ definitions of student behaviour are understood, and your child also understands the consequences in place for when they show both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ student behaviour.

Your behaviour as their coach can also be included in the coaching agreement. For example, your child might want you to stay patient and not use sarcasm or raise your voice. You can also decide negative consequences for yourself if you don’t use good coaching behaviours if you think that might develop a more respectful coaching atmosphere. As when deciding consequences for your child, keep most consequences small, the atmosphere light, and stay the final judge. I often use the first up to five game as the consequence because it is easy to use, and fun. The prize can be a small snack for the winner.

The most effective consequences are relatively effortless for you to implement and monitor, while giving your child immediate pleasure or pain. Don’t rush into any agreements before you have:

  • Made sure consequences can be put into action fairly immediately, and are easy to administer and monitor.
  • Checked that the positive consequences are something they really do want, and the negative consequences something they definitely don’t want.
  • Simplified consequences so they don’t cost you much time, energy, or money.
  • Decided how to increase the severity of the negative consequences if your child continues to choose to use ‘bad student’ behaviours.

Small positive consequences that you can give easily and without hesitation:

  • Praise and a smile.
  • Privileges. Privileges are anything you give your child besides the basic necessities of life (food, clothing, warmth, and love). Privileges include time with anything that they consider fun, such as computer time, DVD or TV time, or skateboard/scooter time.
  • Tangible rewards. This includes small amounts of pocket money, special food, fun toys, books, outings, and points earned towards something bigger they want.

Small negative consequences that you can give easily and without hesitation

  • You gain a point for specific examples of ‘bad student’ behaviour and they gain one for specific examples of ‘good student’ behaviour and the winner is the one who gets the first 5 points and a small reward.
  • A longer coaching time to catch up on the work not done. Add a minute for each minute lost with ‘bad student’ behaviour. Write each minute up immediately and somewhere your child can see, and then erase it after they have worked for that minute.
  • They lose or gain minutes to be used on a favourite and privileged past-time.

More serious consequences that need careful monitoring from you:

  • Losing privileges for a set amount of time. There are as many variations on the ‘losing privileges scenario as there are families. A privilege is anything they like to do or have that is not directly related to their physical or mental well-being.
    • I suggest you make the loss of privilege happen as immediately as possible so that they feel the pain of that loss very soon after their ‘poor student’ behaviour.
    • Give them hope by making it a short period of loss. Time for privileges can be reckoned per minutes, hours, days, or per weeks so that your child has renewed opportunities to have that privilege again soon.
    • No negotiation after. Time, money, or points lost can’t be earned back.
    • Privileges can decrease in set increments. For example, each ‘bad student’ behaviour could lose them 15 minutes of the agreed-upon time with a computer game for that day. Create an agreement that works for you and your child, and modify it until it effectively supports your child to change any unhelpful ‘bad student’ behaviours.
  • They lose small amounts of pocket money. For example, they could earn weekly pocket money for daily chores and ‘good student’ behaviour, but lose a set amount of money for uncompleted chores and for each ‘bad student’ behaviour. You could monitor pocket money with a chart.

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 like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible so hello fellow Twitter user! Don’t forget to Tweet this post if you like it, or follow me on Twitter if you find me interesting. Keep spreading my ideas and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families so they too can develop the skills to create exceptional children in their families.

Warmly,

Anne

coaching, goal-setting, homework, Uncategorized

Positive Discipline part 3: First steps in seizing control respectfully


children learn what they livePositive Discipline: How to stay respectful and seize control.

An important strength of positive discipline is that you can respond quickly and assertively and with confidence when your child behaves badly. Before the positive discipline approach you may have reacted emotionally when your child wasn’t cooperating with you, or refusing to work with you, and you probably felt and expressed anger, resentment, sarcasm or helplessness.

Now, with an agreement about what exactly are acceptable and unacceptable behaviours, and the consequences for acceptable and unacceptable behaviours, you will find it much easier to be fair and consistent and calm and reasonable when your child chooses ‘bad student’ behaviours.

You will no longer need to chose moment by moment how to respond to your child’s ‘bad’ or ‘good’ behaviours and you won’t need to get involved or highly emotional about what they are doing or not doing anymore. Instead you and your child will realise that they have made a choice knowing the consequences of that choice, and as their coach all you have to do is step out of the way while your child experiences the results or consequences of their behaviours.

An important and exciting side-effect of the positive discipline approach is that your child learns that they have the power to change their behaviours in an acceptable way to create the natural outcomes or consequences they want. Over time as they learn to control their thoughts and emotions and behaviours with you, you will help them change negative and unhelpful behaviours at school too.

Positive discipline – the steps to make it work. Follow these steps carefully and you should be able to easily set up a new and more respectful coaching situation in your home.

Step one: Take time to plan ahead very carefully!

Decide exactly what behaviours you need, both from your child and from yourself. Ask yourself, “What does my child need to do so that I can coach and they can learn?” Then ask yourself, “How do I need to act to encourage those behaviours?”

Calm actions and words are the key to using positive discipline with your child, so plan for all the possible positive and negative scenarios you can think of. Decide what you will say (keep it brief), your tone of voice (keep it low), and your gestures (keep them simple) when your child behaves like a ‘good student’ or like a ‘bad student’. Then you can always use the broken record’ strategy, where you have several standard, brief responses for most situations that arise, and you repeat them just as a broken record/CD repeats part of a song. The broken record strategy allows you to respond decisively, smoothly, calmly and automatically, using minimal energy and maximum impact, to nearly all of your child’s behaviours. Step Two is in the following post.

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