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  • Writer's pictureJenn

Teen Power Battles


A challenge to see who can change whose model first?

Who will cry "uncle"?

It is not hard to get into a model war, a power battle, with a teen and find these phrases coming out of your mouth or running through your mind.

"You are better than this"

"You have so much potential"

"I'll treat you like an adult when you act like an adult"

Which sound like basic, motivating statements a parent could use to spur a teen into action, right?

Feelings of belonging, of being enough, of being loveable and valuable no matter what, are basic needs and teens are notoriously vulnerable to feeling insecure and inadequate.

Afraid of being kicked out of the herd.

But...one of the standard "goals of misbehavior" is to express inadequacy. If this is the reason for some of the behaviors, the statements of

"You are better than this" and

"You have so much potential"

may sound like,

"You are not enough as you are"

"You need to be different"

"You should be different"

"You are not enough until you do....(what I really hoped and imagined for you)"

And sometimes we need to take a long look in the mirror to see if that isn't actually what we are thinking on some, down-below, level.

That if they aren't doing X, Y, or Z that something has gone wrong or they have gone wrong. Or they are wrong. Or their future will go wrong.

Now if you've done this....please don't jump to judgement.

You aren't inadequate and neither are they.

But here is what often happens in the battle of the models.

They do something, we believe we feel uncertain, anxious, angry, frustrated because of what they did.

So we say, in so many words, "Hey! please act this other way so I can feel okay about you, about me as a parent, and about your future!"

{Please change my thoughts, my feelings, and sometimes my actions for me. They are in your hands. My feelings are at your mercy. I want to believe that you are enough now, treat you differently, and feel proud and loving but I can't until you.....}

And teen says, in so many words, "Assure me that you will always be there for me, will love me no matter what, and make me feel loved, valuable, important. I'd like you to prove that to me. Here is the test." Enter increased behavior issues.

{Please fill in my model and make me feel valid, important, valuable. I can't do it myself. You're the parent, it's your job.}

Parents enforce more effort into changing teen's action line, teen enforces more effort to control their action line...

When parents engage me they often want me to "fix" their kid.

"I haven't been able to get them to stop doing X, Y, Z so you try."

As a coach I don't try to get them to stop doing X, Y, or Z.

I teach them to use their own mind to recognize their value.

To know that they are already enough, that they don't need to prove anything.

I teach them take responsibility for their own emotions and see when they are engaging in using others to do their own, unique, and valuable model work.

The easiest, best way to do this is to teach the parents how first.

Amazingly enough, kids often stop tring to prove that they are enough when the people around them already believe it 100%, no matter what you do, AND set strong boundaries out of love and not fear.

It's an art and a skill to be built but I've included the first 4 steps in this video.

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