#016 From Difficult to Impactful Conversations with Your Teen

#016 From Difficult to Impactful Conversations with Your Teen

Do you dread having “difficult” conversations with your teen? It’s okay, but you still NEED to have those conversations!

“When we give children advice or instant solutions, we deprive them of the experience that comes from wrestling with their own problems.”
~ Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen

“The attitude behind your words is as important as the words themselves.”
~ Adele Faber, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

“It’s also not helpful when parents respond with more intensity than the child feels.”
~ Adele Faber, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

What makes a conversation “difficult”?

Parents tell me all the time that they don’t like having “difficult” conversations with their teens.

“I don’t like confrontation,” some say. Or, “I don’t want to make them uncomfortable.”

So, let’s get curious for a minute.

What is it that makes a conversation difficult?

It’s what we think about it. It’s what we think the other person is thinking about it. It’s a million other thoughts, but it always comes down to our thoughts.

It’s not that sex or pornography are inherently difficult things to talk about them, it just that we have a bunch of thoughts that make it hard to talk about. Thoughts like:

  • “This is going to be weird,” or
  • “People don’t talk about sex or pornography,” or
  • “This isn’t normal.”

“Difficult” conversations DON’T have to be “difficult.”

And, it’s 100% okay to feel some discomfort!

Why is it important to have these conversations?

I want to turn that question directly to you!

Why is it important to have these conversations?

Some conversations don’t need to be had.

For me, I’ve decided that it is my duty as a father to teach my children about things, especially potential threats.

I think it’s important to talk about things like sex, pornography, social media, and other potential threats so that my teens are prepared. I’m also pretty confidence that their friends and social media or going to have a lot to say, and I want to make sure that I’m sharing my point of view loud and clear.

I think that by having these conversations, I am increasing my impact in their life.

You get to decide why it’s important for you and your teen. The more clear you get on WHY it’s important to you, the easier these conversations will be.

How to have “Impactful” conversations instead of “difficult” conversations.

  • Be intentional!
    • Know why this is important to you.
    • Know what your role is as a parent.
    • Decide how you want to show up emotionally.
    • Know what the result that you are looking for is.
  • Be quick to listen and encourage that THEY talk.
    • When your teen wants to talk, listen.
    • Listen to what is being said and what’s not being said.
    • Seek to understand:
      • where they are coming from?
      • how do they think?
      • what do they want?
      • how are they understanding this?
  • Be clear
    • Be specific.
    • The vague, “You know what I’m talking about” doesn’t cut it.
    • Use examples.
    • Don’t overcomplicate it.
  • Be vulnerable
    • It’s okay to feel uncomfortable.
    • It’s okay to share your past experience with something similar.
    • It’s okay to not have the answers.
  • Allow for curiosity
    • Be curious about them and what they think.
    • Let your teen be curious about you and what you think.
    • Explore the topic
    • Curiosity leads to honesty and truth.

So, what can you do now?

Stop focusing on the “difficult” conversations and start practicing having “IMPACTFUL” conversations with your teen.

Trust that they want to have these conversations with you, even if they are a little uncomfortable.

Trust that by YOU being true to your role and purpose as their parent, YOU WILL have a powerful impact on their life.

Take the plunge and practice having “impactful” conversations TODAY!

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#016 From Difficult to Impactful Conversations with Your Teen

#014 Impacting vs Controlling Your Teen

If you give up the desire to control your teen, you will have a powerful impact in their life!

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.”
~ Jane D. Hull

“Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.”
~ Carl Jung

Control is Impossible

This is a really hard one for parents, even myself. We have this natural desire to control our teens.

Think back a decade or so, when our teens were young kids and smaller, we could control a lot of aspects of their lives. When we asked them to get in the car, if they said “No,” we could simply pick them up and strap them in a car seat. We were in control. Mission accomplished: kid and car and securely strapped in with no chance of escape.

Now, if your teen is anything like mine, it’d be nearly impossible for me to force him into a car or prevent his escape.

As much as we think we want to control our teens, the extreme measures that it would require, are laughable.

I often ask clients to explore just what it would take to control their teens. Every answer has been extreme, from tying their teens to a chair, or medically sedating them, ultimately every parent agrees that not only is it to extreme to control their teen, but that that they don’t actually want to control them.

Control Kills Connection

When we try to control our teens, we are trying to connect with them where we want them instead of where they are.

This is an example of trying to connect with a teen that doesn’t actually exist.

This results in a weak connection with our teen.

Think about it, as an adult and a parent, how do you feel towards people who tell you that you’re not good enough, or that you need to fix x, y and z?

When we try to control our teens, we’re basically telling them, “You’re not good enough to handle life, so I’ll take it from here.”

This creates feelings of distrust and resentment on both sides of the relationship.

What’s the Difference In IMPACT vs. CONTROL?

Impact is inward focused on the only thing we can control, ourselves.

Impact is focused on OUR impact. The impact that WE want to have and leave behind.

Whereas control is focusing on our teen, something definitely outside of our control.

Rather than focusing on our own result, our impact, we try to focus on our teen’s results, their choices.

Having an impact means that we show up intentionally to parent in a way that is inline with our purpose and vision for OURSELVES. I have an impact as a dad by intentionally teaching and coaching. I’m not doing it to change my teen or my kids, I’m doing it so that I am consistent with my purpose and vision as a dad.

The Action’s the Same, But The Intention Changes EVERYTHING!

In a recent coaching call my client said, “Well, I’d do the exact same action, but my intention changes my result. It changes EVERYTHING!”

BINGO! This IS it!

Often times parents will ground and take away privileges in response to a teens behavior, and usually it’s with the intention of changing the teen’s behavior. The only problem is that they are focusing on getting a result that it out of their control, their teen changing their behavior.

What if you grounded your teen, or took away privileges, but you were doing it to teach a lesson to fulfill your role as a parent? All of a sudden, your focus is on you teaching a lesson rather than changing your teen.

Rather than taking the car away to punish them into changing, what if you took the care away to help teach them responsibility. If they learn responsibility, great! If not, it’s no big deal, you’ll continue teaching and supporting them.

Control is Temporary, IMPACT is Eternal.

Your days of controlling your kids is temporary. As they grow, develop, and mature, they need to develop more and more control over their own lives.

In order for them to learn how to control their life, they need you to give up control.

By doing this, though, you will have a much deeper and profound impact on their life.

I want to invite you to stop focusing on control and start focusing on your impact!

Do you want to work with me 1-on-1?

I’d like to offer you a FREE discovery coaching session! On this call, we’ll work together to explore what your struggling with and ways that I might be able to help you through weekly coaching.

Click the link below to schedule a FREE discovery coaching session today.