We've all been there—the dreaded power struggle with your teen.Unfortunately, these power struggles seem to grow exponentially as teens enter middle school and push boundaries, especially when it comes to social media and technology use. And a lot of the tools that seemed to work in elementary school when they were kids no longer do.
So how can you avoid these power struggles that leave you both with a pounding headache and you fearing the next blow-up?
When I was in my first year of teaching middle school, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and did just about everything I could to avoid a power struggle. I never wanted kids to be mad at me—I tried to be their friend, to elaborate on rules with them, and I often bent those rules for my students.
But one time, I caught one of my 7th graders trying to ditch my Leadership class and go hang out with her 8th-grade friends. I immediately instructed her to get back in the classroom. She, of course, did not. I then told her I would call her mother, to which she responded, "I don't care, go ahead." So the power struggle ensued. Eventually, the administration got involved, but let me tell you: It was ugly, exhausting, and made me feel like a failure as a teacher.
One of the senior staff heard what happened and said "Oh honey...well, that's your mistake! You didn't give her a choice, which escalated the situation. Here is what I would have said the moment I caught her trying to ditch my class: 'You can come back in class within the next 10 seconds or I can call your mother. It's your choice.'"
What makes this so effective? Giving your teen a choice between two options will:
They may not be happy, but they'll make a choice, and you both can move on without a power struggle.
Are you currently struggling to navigate power struggles between you and your teen? Share with me a question or recent power struggle, and I'll respond with tools catered to your specific needs.
Wishing you a weekend free of power struggles!
Happy Friday! Hopefully you are enjoying your week so far and continuing to have a wonderful summer. This week I decided to change things up again and send another resource rather than "Inspiring Instagram" account because of the huge positive response from parents.
So this Friday, I wanted to share one of the best-kept secrets in supporting teenagers--validation. As I've been supporting more and more teens, I've realized that many parents and educators are missing this one really simple tool when connecting with and supporting teens who are upset or emotionally charged.
Most adults have a tendency to immediately try and fix the situation for their teenager. And in many ways this makes sense. As adults, we have more experience to draw from and often can see the bigger picture whereas teens can't. We also don't want our children or students to be upset about a situation and we want to help. Moreover, it's how most people react to each other anyways. If you are upset about something at work and share it with your partner or friend, most of the time people will first respond with advice or how it relates to something they have gone through.
However, when you immediately begin to try and fix an emotionally charged situation for your child or student, this will often result in your teenager shutting down, not wanting to talk to you, feeling more disempowered, or blowing up even more.
Many adults miss the number one step in talking with teens who are upset about a teacher, a peer, a rule, or some other situation. This step is tovalidate their emotions first and foremost. Before giving them advice, trying to fix it, or telling them what you think and how you would handle the situation, validate their experience. This can look and sound a few different ways, such as:
"I hear that you are really frustrated/angry/upset"
"I can see that you seem to be really frustrated/angry/upset"
"I can understand that you are frustrated/angry/upset"
"Yeah it sucks and I don't blame you for being frustrated/angry/upset" etc
Watch the video below to find out more and I invite you to practice validatingthe teens in your life this week!
One of the most difficult things in life is being the parent or teacher of a teenager so know that you are amazing and I honor all that you are already doing. I hope this helps and would love to hear your thoughts, if this was helpful, and how it goes.
Rather than sending along an “Inspiring Instagram” account, I wanted to change things up this Friday and give you a different type of positive resource instead.
One of my favorite FB pages to follow is A Mighty Girl because it often posts thought-provoking articles for parents and educators about how to best support girls in growing up to be confident and healthy young women. In this overstimulated age where the media is constantly pushing the boundaries of violence and sexualization, parents, educators and girls alike can struggle to find healthy media representations of women. That’s what makes A Mighty Girl so awesome—it posts lists of amazing books, toys, movies/TV, and music that support girls in developing a healthy body image, positive peer relationships, and tackling difficult issues in life.
One list I wanted to share with you today is “20 Mighty Girl Books for Tweens & Teens About Healthy Relationships.” Here’s what A Mighty Girl wrote about the list and its importance:
“As tweens and teens enter the new world of romantic relationships, it can be challenging for them to figure out how this new type of relationship works and to tell if their relationship is a healthy one. With conflicting messages from media -- think of the romantic comedy trope of the boy who won't accept a girl saying no -- it can be hard for kids to figure out what healthy romantic love really looks like. In fact, studies show that one in three US teens will experience physical, emotional, or sexual abuse from a romantic partner before they reach adulthood.
Parents can help teens make sense of what can be a confusing time by talking them about what makes a healthy partnership -- and how to recognize amanipulative or abusive one. In today's blog post, we've showcased a variety ofMighty Girl books about all aspects of romantic love, as well as a selection of resources for both teens and parents about how to recognize, avoid, or leave unhealthy relationships. By sharing these stories, and talking about what makes real love so empowering and special, we can help the next generation find the loving, respectful partners they deserve.”
Whether you are a teen, parent, or educator, I HIGHLY recommend checking out this list (click here) and reading one of these books. It will help you start the conversation on what a healthy relationship looks like—and what you and your teen deserve.
Today’s “Inspiring Instagram” to check out is @actingonadream. This account is “a community of people here to tell you that anything is possible.” Especially this week, with a lot of negatively and hate in the news, around the world, in this country, and often in our social media newsfeeds, it’s important to remember to stand up for your dreams, to stand up for what you believe in, to share your voice, and to continue to let yourself be inspired. This account has motivational quotes all around supporting you in brazenly going after your dreams. Check it out here:https://www.instagram.com/actingonadream/
Sending you all a lot of love,
Today’s “Inspiring Instagram” to check out is @worldoflabs! This is another fantastic and hilarious animal account. It’s dedicated to reposting hilarious, ridiculous, and downright adorable videos and photos of Labrador Retrievers. I used to have an amazing chocolate Labrador Retriever named Romeo, so both labs and this account hold a special place in my heart. So if you love hilarious dog videos almost as much as I do, check it out here:https://www.instagram.com/worldoflabs/
I am a teen-empowerment coach. I work with teen girls, ages 14-17, who struggle with self-acceptance, perfectionism, seeking attention from others, and deep sadness or anger.