Your adolescent needs to know you love them EVEN WHEN THEY’RE PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES.
You might be mad at them and that’s ok. It’s even ok to tell them, “I’m really mad right now.” That’s 5 words. And that’s all you need to say. Zip the rest. The character analysis, the fault finding, the blame. The things you say almost on auto pilot because they are the things your parents said to you.
You will probably be thinking them, just don’t say them. Those words, the ones that feel great to say in the moment, are the words that will do the long-term damage. Leave them unsaid to your adolescent. They are the perfect fuel for a coaching session when you can really explore why they are even there. They are NOT appropriate to say to your adolescent. So zip it.
When you are calm enough to have a rational discussion, sit down with your teen and talk the scenario through. I find it super useful to ask, “If there was a video camera, what would I have seen happen?” And follow that up with, “What were you thinking inside your head while that was happening?” This is a time of trust and vulnerability, so no comments on their answers are required from you. Again, zip it!
Once you have all the facts you and your adolescent can work through the consequences. The decision is yours, it is not you who has crossed the boundary. It is worth asking for their input, “What do you think is fair?” Consequences are easier to enforce if you have their buy in and deliver them from a place of love. Ask for their input, “What do you think is fair?”
Stick with the work of parenting with love and a challenge will become a learning opportunity. By sticking to the facts you can leverage the ‘crisis’ into an opportunity to show them how much you are there for them.
For more on parental boundaries, see this post.
For parents who are committed to being the change their adolescents need to see in the world, book a free, exploratory call with Melanie. A fresh set of eyes on a problem is often the beginning of a positive change.