Updated: Jan 5, 2022
As a life coach to families with teens, I hear this common complaint from parents: - “my teens don`t listen to me, and as a result I always have to nag them.” Likewise, I hear these complaints from my students: - “my parents don’t listen to me, they don’t understand me, and they are always nagging me.”
Parents and teens are co-creating this relationship and neither parties are hearing or listening well. The consequence to family relationships create nagging-frustrated-parents and unmotivated-apathetic teens.
As parents, we need to assess and end this negative recurring pattern.
Join me and explore crucial questions that demonstrate how we as parents can communicate differently so teens listen and respond with more relationship and respect.
Consider these questions:
What is your vision for your teen?
Where do you want your teen to be in 5- or 10-years’ time?
What character qualities do you want to see?
How are you preparing your teen for adulthood?
What IS your role as the parent? Is it to fix their problems, find their solutions, rescue them from failure, make sure they are happy, healthy, and comfortable, or be the expert in their lives?
Perhaps we need to rethink our role as the parent?
What if we were not meant to be the immediate-and-ever-present expert on our teens nor were we meant to solve all their problems or make sure they are comfortable and happy?
In fact, we do not have to be the expert to prove we are good parents. Let this mindset go. Breathe and give yourself grace. They NEED to see themselves as capable experts, and so doing, realize their God given gifts and capabilities.
We do not need to play “super-parent-to-the-rescue” anymore. Intentionally and gradually letting go of being the expert, we will inspire our teens to be more receptive, relational, and responsible.
How are your expert-parent-superpowers inadvertently holding your teen back?
Let`s explore this crucial concept: by doing less, we gain more.
Break the pattern and re-calibrate relationships
1. Shift your parenting.
We need to make a transition from “telling our teens what to do” (we are the expert) to helping them “tell themselves what to do” (they are the experts). Shifting our role helps our teens become more competent and confident in their own abilities.
Change your parenting FROM the expert manager/controller TO the expert mentor/coach.
Here are the distinctions between a manager/controller and a mentor/coach:
A manager/controller gives (my) advice and has an imposed agenda
A mentor/coach has a conversation with a (teen`s) self-discovered agenda
A manager has a solution-focused-mindset - constantly giving advice - fixing problems - finding solutions because it`s all about the (my) agenda/results – external outcomes and success.
A coach has a conversation which involves connection and curiosity, with no pre-determined agenda, allowing the other person to be heard and therefore discovering a unique, organic agenda.
The key is to listen to hear the heart. No judgment. No advise. No solving. No telling what to do. No nagging!
Let go of (our) results-driven-agenda.
When we, as parents, get more focused on our own agenda (results we want to see in our teen), we tend to become critical and judgmental especially when teens disappoint and do not achieve or perform according to our expectations. Results-driven-parenting discourages teens and affects relationships.
Re-frame our manager mindset.
When we let go of what we want, we are more relaxed and freer to enjoy our teens and this creates more peaceful connections. When parents shift from a solution-focused-mindset and show up in a connection-focused-mindset, this changes the narrative and the negative pattern.
“Come to me all those who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in spirit and I will give you rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Mathew 11:28-30
2. Listen to connect
An expert coach listens well!
When we listen well, we create a shift in family dynamics which improves receptibility. Teens want to be heard; they want to know that parents are interested in their opinions/ideas, and value their feedback. This builds trust and respect - the basis of any relationship.
“Without question, the greatest emotional need of people today is the need to be understood. And to understand we must listen.” Dr Tim Elmore
How well are you listening?
How well do you really understand your teen?
What do you need to let go of?
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen Covey
I`m sure you know of people who do not listen well. They jump into the conversation with a solution, advise or interruption and disregard your feelings, even with good intentions.
How does this make you feel?
How does this affect your relationship?
What if you respond in the same way to your teen?
How does this affect your closeness?
Whose voice gets heard?
Whose voice gets drowned out?
Listening well nurtures trust and respect and communicates value and appreciation which deepens relationships as teens feel heard. When we open the conversation by giving them space to think, share ideas, and build trust in a non-judgmental environment, they will respond better because they will listen better.
Can your teens trust you with the truth about their feelings?
How do you come across?
How are you respecting your teens and how are they respecting you?
Great parents listen and connect well!
We get the results we want by not focusing on the results
We get the results we want when we let go of being the expert
We get the results we want when we are being who we need to be
The better we connect, the more influence we have with the best outcomes. When our teens feel validated and heard, they will listen and become more engaging and receptive. This leads to more responsibility as they become more confident in their own abilities and see themselves as capable experts.
Here is the gold: When we give them space (and) they trust us; they (will) come to us for advice and listen. We get to be the expert at the appropriate time! And we get to see more positive results in their lives. It`s all about timing!
"Letting go and letting God," is a personal reminder for me during this season in my life with young adult sons. Parenting is hard, heart work. It`s not easy :)
How does life coaching help students? Coaching uses tools and strategies to help with motivation, organization, goal setting, time management, mindsets & limiting beliefs, relationships, communication, self-management and discovering interests, values, strengths, abilities, career path.
My signature coaching GO PROGRAM curriculum is for students 13-18 years. It is a personal development and life prep 15 week zoom online curriculum. Students learn listening and communication skills as they coach each other in zoom break-out rooms. This is the most fun part of the course and the students LOVE this interaction!
This curriculum is unique as I involve parents in the learning process. I value a three-way partnership (coach-parent-student) as communication with parents is key to student success. I send out weekly parent emails with regards to what students are learning. In addition, I meet for two group parent zoom coaching sessions to discuss progress, and how parents can support their student. Essentially, I give parents coaching tips and tools for preparing their teen into adulthood. These essential group parent sessions are offered as bonuses.