Chapter Twelve           

                                  Transformed Teens

Consider some of the noble characteristics of transformed teenagers:

  • The ability to be centered and act from their center
  • Lots of energy
  • Knowledge of what they need to do at any moment and how to go about it
  • Understanding of and compassion for others
  • Fearlessness
  • Self-knowledge
  • Strong self-esteem
  • Self-discipline

Respectful Insights, Understandings, Guidelines And Reminders

In many traditional cultures
, by the “teen” years, people are in the process of taking on the full
responsibilities and privileges of adults. They are ready for this, even physically, they are young adult
humans. In our culture we continue to treat teens as children, maintaining the “right” to give “permission.”
When teens resist such treatment, we call it adolescent rebellion.

If you had a hard time with your child when they were two, it may take persevering, respectful effort
on your part not to suffer through stormy teens. Both are times of radical transition. In one, the human
being is changing from being completely inwardly motivated as an infant, into a social being who can
follow outer directives, or not. In the other situation the human being is transitioning from a child to an
adult. Prepare for radical changes, unexpected changes.

It is good for teens to experience as many different life situations as they wish while they are still
living at home. This gives them the opportunity to learn in the protective, supportive environment created
by their parents, rather than later in the “school of hard knocks,” or perhaps not at all. Parents and teens
can discuss experiences and they can both learn alternate ways to handle situations.

Remember: Take responsibility for your feelings. It is due to conditions within you that you feel the
way you do. Blame is inaccurate and does not help a situation change, it only hurts, both the one who is
blamed and the one who blames.

If you need to let out anger, be sure not to let it out on your teenager. You can shout if you wish, but
not at anyone, pound pillows, do some vigorous physical activity. If you practice centering, you can center
yourself and wait for the anger to pass. It will pass, as all emotions do, like clouds passing over the sun,
now here…now gone.

When anger is directed toward a teenager, it generally hurts their feelings, makes them feel guilty,
and defensive. Then they are no longer open to you, your feelings, your thoughts or your needs. They
want to attack or get away from whoever seems to be giving them pain.

Anger is a secondary emotion. Before you feel anger you feel another emotion: frustration, hurt, fear,
disappointment. Learn to observe this primary emotion and share those feelings with your teenager.1
This gives your teen the chance to take care of you, to apologize, to hug you, to offer to behave
differently. Harmony is maintained and both are empowered.

If you need to say something to a teenager that might embarrass them, say it quietly so that only
they can hear, or say it to them when the two of you are alone. Tell them as politely as you would tell a
friend who you thought was committing a social error, or had something green between their teeth. Don’t
call them on it in front of everyone else, causing humiliation and embarrassment.

Give your teenager the benefit of the doubt. You can be confident that they had a good reason for
doing what they did, even if you don’t understand it, yet.

Using the strategy End Conflict NOW! is well worth any time it takes.

Don’t think in terms of ‘disobedience’ when you can think in terms of cooperation. Discover why a
teenager seems uncooperative:

  • Are their needs different than yours and, therefore, you need to negotiate?
  • Have they misunderstood your needs?
  • Have you misinterpreted their actions as being uncooperative just because they did not do exactly
    what you expected them to do?
  • Are they tired of being bossed around, as we all can be?
  • As a behavior model, are you frequently uncooperative with your teenager?

Within two to seven weeks it is possible to change behavior patterns. You just need to be patient
and persistent.

Be sure your communications are clear. Be sure that you understand it the way the teenager
understands it and that the teenager understands it the way you understand it.

You don’t have to be afraid to say ‘no’ about something you don’t want to do. Be prepared to
negotiate when a teenager has a really strong need to have things some other way. When a teen wants
to do something that you don’t want them to do it, use End Conflict NOW! to find harmony.

Lying teens are afraid of the consequences of speaking the truth. They may also have gotten into the
habit of it, especially if their parents lie frequently, even if their parents’ lies are only ‘white lies.’

If a teen is in the habit of lying, don’t set them up to catch them in a lie. If you know they have done
something, don’t say, “Did you…? Say “I saw you….” Then you can both deal with the situation and not
have to deal with lying at that time.

Stealing teenagers are afraid they won’t have their needs met in other ways. Help them feel that their
needs are considered, that they are important. Help them learn to get their needs met, but not at the
expense of others, and watch their need to steal disappear.

During negotiations, don’t think of the teenager as your adversary on the other side of the negotiating
table. Picture both of you on the same side of the table, facing in the same direction, ready to work it out.

          FROM: BEST HELP FOR TROUBLED TEENS

The five overlooked facts that make the difference!

The five most helpful attitudes

The skills you need to help effectively

Overlooked Fact #1:  
Maybe you are trying to help your troubled daughter or son by yourself. Maybe you have sent your
troubled teen to one of the programs or institutions which offer to help your troubled teen. Maybe you
have given up because you don’t know what to do. Whatever you are doing or not doing about this
situation, if you want the relationship to be different, you have to behave differently.

It’s not just that they have to change and behave differently. You, the parents, have to behave differently,
too. It is not just that they have problems and have to be fixed.

Attitude:
Together you share the problems that have to be fixed.

Skill:
Learn to remain calm while relating to your troubled teen. Until you can do this successfully, apologize.
Whenever you have treated your son or daughter in a way that you would not like to be treated,
apologize. This is an especially important first skill to begin practicing. It alone can make a huge positive
difference in your lives.


Overlooked Fact #2:  
Most likely these problems have been developing since your child was a baby, especially since they were
two. Think back to that time period and focus on your behavior.

How did you treat your child? Did you ever treat your child in ways that your child treats you now? This
reflection might help you understand more about what is happening today.

Perhaps your relationship with your child has been good over the years and you are totally surprised by
your teen’s present behavior. On the other hand, this trouble may be no surprise to you.

In either case, you can take simple, powerful actions now, today, to turn this around, to build a foundation
of mutual respect so you both feel loved and cared about.

Attitude:
You now realize that your decisions and actions might have contributed to this situation, however,
something powerful and effective can be done about it.

Skill:
Decide that from this moment you are willing to do what you have to do to create a foundation of mutual
respect between you and your teen.

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