Believe it or not, this is one of my ALL TIME favorite questions that I get from parents.
No Matter What I Do, My Teen Won’t Change
One of the things that I hear a lot is, “We’ve tried EVERYTHING, and nothing we do works.”
To which I usually ask, “How do you know nothing is working?”
And the parents typically replay, “My teen won’t change.”
If you’ve ever thought that “nothing is working” when it comes to your teens, it’s probably because you are focused on changing your teen.
My favorite question that I often get from parents is, “My teen won’t change, now what?”
The reason I like that question so much is because it typically means that they’ve tried changing their teen, they’ve realized that they can’t change their teen, and they want to know what they CAN do.
If this is you, and you’re starting to realize that you can’t change your teen, and you’re left wondering, “Now what!?!” this podcast is for you.
Where Is Your Attention?
One of the reasons that I like this question is because it reflects a shift in attention. It shows that the parents are willing to shift their attention from changing their teen to something else, “Now what?”
Most parents get stuck fixating their attention on the behavior of their teen. They catastrophize about all the things that are going “wrong” and the scary worst-case scenarios that are possible.
If you want to change your teen, you’re attention is on something that you can’t control, your teen.
But, when you ask “Now what?” you shift your attention to new possibilities.
“Now What?” has limitless possibilities.
Often, when parents come to me asking, “Now what?” there is a sense of desperation.
They feel like they’ve tried everything, that nothing works, and their desperation positions them to be willing to explore new options.
So, Now What?
First of all, don’t beat yourself up for not being able to change, fix, or control your teen.
It’s not your job. You don’t have the power to change, fix, or control your teen.
You haven’t done anything wrong, so please show yourself some compassion.
And second, take all of that energy that you were spending on your teen and spend it on you.
That’s right, let go of the things outside of your control and embrace the things that you can control yourself.
For some parents, this looks like letting your teen be grumpy, depressed, and unhappy, and shifting your focus from making them happy to being happy yourself.
For some parents it looks like exploring ways that you can be the change that you want for your teen.
For example, one of the things that parents ask all the time is, “How can I help my teen be more confident?”
My answer is usually, “How can you be the change you’re looking for? How can you be more confident? How can you be more confident in your teen?”
Bottom line is, there are countless things that you can do, EVEN if your teen isn’t willing to do anything different.
Simply ask yourself the question, “Now what?” and go with whatever you come up with.
Call to ACTION!
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