Stop Doing the Same Thing
Do you know Einstein’s Theory of Insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, if you feel like your banging your head against a brick wall – stop it! Time to step back and look at how you can deal with them differently instead of waiting in vain for them to change.
Every Action Has an Equal and Opposite Reaction
People who spend a lot of time together slip into habits of reacting to situations or circumstances the same way and strangely, always get the same results. For example, a member of your family is always critical about your hair or your clothes or anything she can find to criticise, you get defensive and the same verbal exchange follows. You can break the pattern by not reacting in the same way – you could try agreeing with her – say something like “I know, you’re right, I must change it” you don’t have to agree or actually do anything about it at all, but they’re happy and the argument is stopped before it’s started – she cannot react in the same way.
You Can’t Change Someone Else…
but you can change how you’re dealing with it. We can spend way too much time pontificating about what someone else ‘should’ do. How do they know they should? We tend to judge others by our own standards or values, but that’s an important thing to remember, they are OUR values and standards, not someone else’s, there is no universal way to think, we are all different. Sure, of course there are sociably acceptable behaviours, but again, we can’t expect someone else to change or even know that it’s not acceptable to us unless we explain to them – communicate. However, sometimes teenagers can be strong characters who live in their ‘Should Land’, so instead of making ourselves angry or upset about what they should or shouldn’t do, recognise we can’t change someone else, but we can change the way we deal with it or think about it. Sometimes we can just let it go.
Pick your Battles.
You can’t win everything, so stop trying. Understand that sometimes teenagers have to win, even when they know it’s not necessary, they will fight to the end, even when there is nothing to gain. Pick your arguments, if its something you can’t let go tell them how its going to be and don’t get drawn in to arguing, if you can ,offer two choices
Offer Two Choices, Both Acceptable to you
This is one I use time and time again and it never fails. Remember, most teenagers like to feel in control and have to make the decision, so let them, but the important thing is the decision they are making is out of two choices, either one you’re happy with. For example, If you say “I need you to come to town with me tomorrow to sort out your stuff for school/college/uni”, you will invariably get an answer along the lines of ”I’ll do it later, not tomorrow”. Try saying “Shall I arrange our town trip for tomorrow morning or afternoon? “, you are much more likely to get an answer choosing one of the options you have given. They have made the decision, but you gave them the choices.
It may not seem like it sometimes but every teenager thrives on praise and enjoy it very much when they are told they are right or important or have done really well. It’s not sucking up (if you don’t overdo it) and lets face it being a teenager is not easy, when they get it right they deserve praise.
Who’s Making the Decisions?
Keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t worry about letting go of the small things and sitting back from the oars from time to time, be aware that you’re in fact steering the ship, just subtly from an advantageous position. Its the end result that’s important, how you get there doesn’t really matter and if you get the teenager in your life working with you instead of feeling like your constantly fighting each other, life will be easier, more fun, less stressed and happier. The path of least resistance. What’s great, they will have no idea they are actually doing what you want, they will believe it is you who is following their decisions. Win Win.