How do I get my teenager to be nice to me? 

Episode #2

How do I get my teenager to be nice to me? 

Question from Amber:

“I have a great teenager. He’s hard working, fun to be around, nice to his sister, in fact, he’s nice to everyone, except ME. When I sit next to him on the couch, he gets up. When I try to hug him, he ducks away. The other day, he was helping his sister with her math and I said, “Thank you so much for helping her, that is so sweet of you.” He immediately stopped helping and walked away. Everything I say is wrong in his eyes. I’m just want to feel close to him and love him and he won’t let me. I expected some teenage rebellion, but the only thing he’s rebelling against is ME. How can I get my teenager to be nice to me?”

The parent educator answer: 

A teenager’s job is to fire their parent. A parent’s job is to earn a place at the kid’s board of director’s table. It sounds like your teenager is doing his job. He’s telling you, mostly through body language, your work here is done. I don’t need mommying anymore. I don’t need your approval, hugs, attention, or anything that makes me feel like a boy. I’m ready to stand on my own two feet and be a man, take responsibility for my life and I can’t be that man when I have the same relationship with you that we’ve always had. The parents job then, is simply, to let go. Easy, right? 

The life coaching answer:

Easier said than done. 

Some helpful questions to ask are: “WHY is it so hard to let go?” “What am I making the fact that he pulls away from me mean?” and “what is it that I really want?”

Let’s take a look at the facts of the situation: He stands up when you sit next to him. When you try to hug him, he ducks away. He tells you that you are wrong. These are just neutral facts.

Can you imagine another mom might not be bothered by this? She might think, “Finally, some time to myself!” or “Fine! He doesn’t want me around, I don’t want him around.” or maybe she wouldn’t notice or care?

The reason this is bothering you is because of what you are making it mean. 

Right now, with his behavior, I’m going to guess you feel annoyed and frustrated.

We all have a default emotion, something we feel easily and often. Underneath this is a hidden, more vulnerable emotion, one that we try really hard not to feel. 

My hunch is that what Amber is making her son’s behavior mean is: “I’m losing him” and the feeling she’s trying not to feel is sadness.

Some moms have no trouble with sadness but many of us avoid it and get annoyed instead.

In this case, Amber doesn’t want to think about losing her baby boy, so every time he pulls away, she clings on tighter. She feels more and more vulnerable as she tries to control something she has no control over. She thinks, “If he would just be nice to me, then I wouldn’t have to feel insecure.” She’s putting all the power to feel secure and happy, in the hands of her rebellious teenager who is trying to DISTANCE himself from her. The more he pulls away, the tighter she holds on.

The solution to this isn’t to “make him nicer” but to acknowledge the truth of what is happening here.

You are losing your little boy. The relationship you had with him will never be the same. It’s ok to grieve the loss of the wonderfully close relationship you had with him. 

This is not to say you won’t have a relationship with him. It’s just time for the relationship to evolve. Right now, you can’t say or do anything right because of the ENERGY you are bringing to him. It’s so one sided.

When this was happening to me, I was so confused. My husband helped me see it this way…

“It’s like you are his stalker. It doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it. You could be the most perfect mom on the planet, nobody wants to agree with their stalker. No one wants to hug their stalker.” 

The way to get your son to be nicer, is to pull your energy WAY back. To grieve the loss of the relationship you had. Treat yourself to a vacation for all the work you put into raising him. Give yourself a certificate, a trophy, something to signify that your work is done and it’s time to change the power dynamic from you as authority/ approver/holder of wisdom and put you on the same level as your son. You are both imperfect, learning, growing, and changing.

Here are 4 tips to help you let go of your teen so he doesn’t need to push you away.

  1. Love more, care less. When kids are little, love and care go hand in hand. Care involves food, clothing, hygiene, how they spend their free time, etc. As they grow into adolescents, mommy taking care of them, thinking about their food, clothing, hygiene, etc, feels overprotective. Teens want to care for themselves, so learning to separate love and care is an important milestone for Supermoms. You will always have “mother’s eyes”. You will always be able to spot potential hazards, ways he could do better, chores that need to be done, better food choices to make, improvements in hygiene, appearance, and ways he could challenge himself more and increase his potential. Probably until the day he dies you will be able to notice these things. The trick is to love the imperfect teenager he is today (without futurizing and catastrophizing), and care less about the details of how he’s living his life. Focusing on loving more, while caring less about them, will set them free to grow into independence.
  2. “Would I say that to a roommate?” You are co-habitating with your son, so using a roommate analogy will help your relationship step into adulthood. You might ask your roommate “How did you do on your test?” but you wouldn’t ask “Did you study?”  You wouldn’t say to a roommate, “Thank you so much for helping your sister with her math” because you are interjecting yourself into his relationship. A simple “You are so nice to your sister!” would be enough. You can ask your roommate to take out the trash but you wouldn’t get weepy if they didn’t feel like hugging you.
  3. Focus on yourself. The question, “Who am I if I’m not his mommy?” sends us into an identity crisis. Think about how the lives of your parents changed after you moved out and see if it’s something that looks appealing to you?  If not, you are probably going to cling even tighter. Create a vision for yourself separate from your roll as mom. Supermoms are very involved with their kids lives and the thought of not being needed or wanted in the same way can cause us to panic.
  4. Create a vision of yourself and your future that excites you. Do you want more time for creative projects? More time for outdoor adventure? Do you feel like learning a new skill, taking on a new challenge, or pushing yourself to play bigger in your life? Is there anything you enjoyed but put on hold when the kid’s activities took over?  Use your imagination to create a picture of your future that is fun and energizing.

Supermom Kryptonite: Letting your teenager take the emotional lead in the home. When we put our ability to be happy in the hands of our teenagers, we ride the emotional roller coaster along with them. If you think: “I can’t be happy until my teen is” it will exhaust you. Instead, you decide how you want to feel and let your teenager follow your emotional lead. 

Supermom Power Boost – Use your creativity (photography, crafts, etc.) or at least use your imagination to create what you want.

Quote“Live out of your imagination, not your history.” Steven Covey

 

How do I get my kids to listen to me?

Episode #1 “How do I get my kids to listen to me?”

Today’s question 

“I feel like I walk around all day barking orders. ‘Pick up your shoes, turn off the TV, finish your homework, clear your plate.” I’m exhausted from the constant negotiating and push back I seem to constantly get and want to know, how the heck do I get my kids to listen to me?”  Christina

The Parent Education Answer

For 30 minutes a week, I teach English to kids who are new to the country. Getting kids to listen is to me is very important and the technique is quite simple. You crouch down to their level, use very slow and deliberate speech, look them in the eye, make sure you are speaking clearly and repeat yourself if necessarry, check with them to make sure they understand, and ask them to repeat what you said after you.

If Christina was to do this, I’m sure her kids would listen to her. It would be hard not to! But what Christina is really asking, is how do I get my kids to OBEY me?

The Life Coaching Answer (how to make actual, long lasting change)

I think the reason Christina is feeling so frustrated and exhausted is because she has the belief that “They should just do what I say.” When we have the thought “They should do what I say AND THEY AREN’T,” we get frustrated and annoyed. When we feel this way, we nag, complain, maybe even avoid asking for what we want because we assume we aren’t going to get it. When we act this way, we aren’t coming from our leadership energy. Kids are wired to follow a calm, confident leader. When we have the thought: “they should obey me,” and they aren’t doing it, we lose our confidence and authority. The kids pick up on our wimpy, angry energy and are more likely to ignore and avoid us.

If we want to change this dynamic, we need to question the thought “They should just do what I say.” Is it true? Are you absolutely sure it’s true that kids should obey every time, immediately, without negotiation? Try changing your thought to something that doesn’t argue with reality, but accepts the actual situation instead.

“I’m so glad I have a normal kid who doesn’t want to do chores.”

“I can trust my kid to ignore me the first time I ask.”

“She is showing me I’m not in my calm leadership energy.”

The times you feel calm and in your leadership energy is when to request something from your child. Look her in the eye, slow your speech, and ask for what you want.

The problem arises when we ask our kids to do things SO THAT WE CAN FEEL GOOD. We think that if they would step up and do what we are asking then we could feel relaxed, calm, and appreciated. When we do this, we are putting our ability to feel good into the hands of our disobedient child. Not a great plan! Instead, take responsibility for your emotions first and don’t wait for your kid’s obedience in order to feel the way you want to feel.

When we take responsibility for our own emotions, we have more control and increase our chances of getting what we want.

The energy of leadership comes from our posture, voice tone, facial expression, and eye contact. The thoughts we think are what effect these things. If we think, “My kids will comply when I’m in my calm, leadership energy” and we focus on the things we have control over (posture, voice, feelings, etc.) we are more likely to get what we want. If we focus on things we don’t have control over (what our child says, does and feels) we feel yucky and are less likely to get what we want.

Today’s Supermom Krpytonite: EXPECTATION (the secret energy drain you might not know is making you tired). Listen to the story about my daughter on Halloween and how stressed out I became with the innocent thought: “This supposed to be fun.” Align your expectations with reality to help you feel at peace with any situation.

Today’s Supermom Power Boost: Decide ahead of time how you want to feel. Don’t put your ability to feel good, in the hands of your child. Take responsibility for how you want to feel BEFORE negotiating with your kiddo.

Today’s Quote:

“Expectation is the MOTHER of all frustration.” Antonio Banderas

Spending the holidays with annoying people

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves.” Carl Jung

So you will be spending the holidays with an annoying family member you don’t like.

You think it will be better this year. You won’t let them get to you.

As soon as you see this annoying person, you tighten up. You look away, then remember you are trying to be polite. You smile, say hello, engage in enough small talk so that you can avoid them the rest of the night without appearing rude. It works for a little while…until the wine kicks in and the comments come out….

Trumps latest political tirade. Your son’s behavior. Your daughter’s weight gain. The passive aggressive bragging about why they are better than you. The off-color joke. The rude comment.

You feel yourself starting to lose it. Promising yourself you won’t do this again. This is the last time.

You. are. done.

This holiday tradition happens in many homes around the country. But the best way to deal with it is before the event begins.

Instead of avoiding the issue and pretending like everything will be fine, use your past experience to predict and plan for the future.

I know it seems like THAT person is the annoying one and if they would just behave appropriately, then you could enjoy the family gathering. But THAT PERSON isn’t the problem.

The reason we get so annoyed is because of who we become when we are with them.

We don’t like tensing up and “making nice” when we don’t feel like it. It’s easy to get annoyed with ourselves for not saying the right thing at the right time. We wouldn’t be so bothered by them, if we acted in a way we admired. The reason that person gets under our skin is because of how we act when we’re around them.

The best way to stay true to yourself, no matter who is around or what they are saying, is to give other people permission to be who they are.

Give your uncle permission to think Trump is the lord and savior of our country.

Give your aunt permission to make passive aggressive comments about your unruly children.

Allow your Dad to raise his eyebrows at your spending habits.

Trust your Mom to make comments about your weight.

Give your brother permission to brag about his expensive splurges.

Expect your boss to make inappropriate comments about your co-worker.

Write down everything ridiculous thing you think might happen at your holiday party. (Doing this with a friend doubles the fun!)

Then watch the party unfold and your brain stay calm. This activity keeps you from arguing and getting annoyed “He’s an idiot, She shouldn’t say that, that is NOT OK!” to feeling satisfied, “I knew he was going to say that”.

This creates a win-win scenario for you. You either get to be right, or you get to have a peaceful evening without getting triggered by idiots.

You get to decide what you think, how you feel, and how you act. When we spend time with annoying people, it doesn’t feel like we have control over this. Allowing other people to be idiots, allows us to be ourselves, and stay in control.

If you struggle to stay calm and true to yourself around certain family members, schedule a free discovery call and let’s get you reconnected with your higher self, no matter who is around you.

 

Is your teen constantly arguing with you?

Try “letting go of the rope” to get your arguing teen to relax.

There is a family therapist in my area who specializes in working with teens. We both speak at the same conference every year and she has a very different take on how to handle arguing teens.

“If your teen isn’t telling you they hate you once a day, then you aren’t doing your job.”

What?!?!   SERIOUSLY?

If my teen was telling me that she hated me everyday, then I would HATE my JOB!

If I hated raising teenagers, I would disengage, avoid them, be resentful of them and white knuckle it until they were out of the house. WE CAN DO SO MUCH BETTER!

Arguing teens and power struggles are very normal, but not much fun. We go back and forth, fighting for who’s right. It’s annoying and exhausting.

Mom – “Get off your cell phone and do your homework”

Teen – “I am! My homework is on my phone.”

Mom – “You can’t concentrate with all those distractions”

Teen- “It helps me study”

When we argue and disagree with our child, we begin a tug of war with them where nobody really wins. Even when we fight for a good cause, it doesn’t give us the result we are looking for.

Teen- “I’m so stupid/ugly/fat”

Mom – No your not honey, you are beautiful inside and out”

Teen- Yes I AM! Look at this ZIT! I’m HIDEOUS!

What happens in a tug of war power struggle, is the teen yells louder and pulls harder in the opposite direction, in order to “win” the argument.

Teen – “I hate school. Ms. Wilson is such a loser.”

Mom – “Now, honey, I’m sure it’s not all that bad.”

Teen – “YES IT IS MOM!  YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND! SHE’S A HORRIBLE PERSON!”

Mom – “Don’t talk that way about people!”

Instead of entering into the power struggle, try “letting go of the tug-of-war rope” by agreeing with them.

—————————————————————————————————————-

Mom – “Get off your cell phone and do your homework”

Teen – “I am! My homework is on my phone.”

Mom – “Oh yeah, your teachers want you to work on Google classroom now. How is that working for you? Do you like it?

Teen- “It’s ok”

Mom – Is it hard to stay focused on school work when your phone has so many temptations on it? Let me know if there’s anything I can do to support you.

——————————————————————–—————————————————

Teen- “I’m so stupid/ugly/fat”

Mom – “Wow, your brain is telling you all sorts of mean things about yourself right now.”

Teen- Well, I AM!  Look at this ZIT!

Mom – I see your zit. I’m sorry that you are feeling ugly. That’s not a fun way to feel. Is there anything I can do?

———————————————————————————————————————–

Teen – “I hate school. Ms. Wilson is such a loser.”

Mom – “Wow! You REALLY don’t like school and you sound especially mad at Ms. Wilson.”

Teen – “School sucks and Ms. Wilson is totally unfair.”

Mom – “You did not have a great day today.”

Teen – “Do we have any food? I’m STARVING”

When we agree with our teens, we diffuse their energy. There’s no need to keep driving home your point, getting louder and more emotional. Eventually the conversation gets boring and your teen moves on.

This “letting go of the rope” strategy will help you ENJOY parenting your teens.

When we enjoy parenting, we engage more with our teens, take classes, read blogs and learn to become better versions of ourselves. Creating homes that feel peaceful, make it a more relaxed and enjoyable place for everyone.

If you aren’t enjoying parenting your teen, schedule a free discovery call to see if life coaching is right for you.

How to influence your teen

Today’s question comes from a Mom of a teenager:

Q – I know friends can be a big influence on teenagers. How can I still be a strong influence on my teen?

A – For this answer I turned to the experts. Those who have made their careers (and earn big money) motivating, influencing and inspiring others. What I found is two words that get your teen to listen to you and pay attention to what you have to say: Bold Enthusiasm. Watch the video below to learn how to communicate with bold enthusiasm to your teen and be a positive and powerful influence in their life.