Monday, November 25, 2019


A WEEK AGO, we posted a blog about ‘reversing your paradigm:’ - that is, when your teen defies you, surprise them by using a different approach.  Today, we have some suggested replies.  Use them as YOU prefer, or adapt to your family’s culture.

OF COURSE, these are based around the premise that you’ve already had heart-to-heart conversations and respected your teen’s time and issues – yet they still defy your requests.  

“Please take the trash out”
·         NO REPLY or says “no.”
1.      OK, I’ll do it [take only your own, not theirs]
2.      Say nothing, do nothing.
3.      Next request or issue from them: SAY NOTHING, DO NOTHING, IGNORE.
4.      [you could always dump the trash in their room – but that would be tacky L ]

“Please get up, to get to school on time”
·         NO REPLY or says “no.”
1.      OK, I’ll send a note to the principal explaining that you’re now on your own – I take no responsibility – nor will I feed you, you have no access to OUR food, you have no transportation – no rides, no allowance…”
2.      Do not reply at all – when they finally arise, no breakfast nor food available, no ride to school, etc.
3.      Say nothing, do nothing.

“Please empty the dishwasher”
·         NO REPLY or says “no.”
·         Separate his/her dishes, leave – uncleaned –on counter or even back porch/ deck
·         [use, select any one of the replies above – or be even more creative!]

“Please put the game controller away and start studying…”                 
·         NO REPLY or says “no.”
1.      Cut off all cable or WI-FI or electricity to the controller
2.      [use, select any one of the replies above – or be even more creative!]

OF COURSE all of these rely on your strength and emotional capacity.

Please don’t retreat to “I could never do that to my kid.” They respect strength – and if they continue to ‘walk all over you’ – it will only get worse. L

Please feel free to add, insert or modify your own – and post here!

Monday, November 18, 2019


One thing learned over many years in business, education, learning and change: throwing out [or setting aside] your current way of thinking VERY often reveals whole new worlds of problem-solving possibilities.  Replacing your paradigm [the framework within which you interpret your world] can provide a totally new and very often much more effective solution to the problem at hand.

On these blog pages are MANY instances of parents expressing frustration with their teen’s behavior.  Question to those parents: Did you NOT EXPECT your teen might act that way? Really? 

It's reasonable to assume that a good many of those behaviors are consciously or unconsciously intended to arouse their parents’ anger, frustration or eyebrows, maliciously or innocently.

Why not surprise ‘em completely? Imagine replacing your USUAL response – they knew you were gonna say that – with a complete reversal?  Your teen will then have a very different challenge as to what to say or do next! 

This isn’t a WIN vs.  LOSE proposition, just a way to level the playing field. 

What do you commonly face?
“Please take the trash out -        NO REPLY or says “no.”
“Please get up so you get to school on time” -NO REPLY/"No.”
“Please empty the dishwasher”             - NO REPLY/ "No"
“Put the controller away, start studying” - NO REPLY/ "No"

How would you respond? _________________.

Check back here tomorrow for suggested answers…

Thursday, October 31, 2019


Motivation is internal. Manipulating someone into ‘becoming motivated’ is
·        bogus,
·        empty,
·        temporary and
·        fleeting.

Many, many parents report that their teen is ‘completely unmotivated’ and they just want to do nothing or play video games, etc.  FACT, however is that years of research tells us we are all inherently motivated.  That teen may be backing away out of SELF-DOUBT, SELF-PITY, FEAR, ETC. And it may even show itself as ANGER TOWARD YOU OR THE WORLD, ETC

So the question becomes: how to begin to build that motivation? Let’s begin by recognizing that a teenager’s usual natural reaction to anything from a parent is to laugh at it, walk away, reject even considering it – because they already know it all – and Mom/Dad don’t know squat!   Don’t react or overreact. Keep an easy, unemotional demeanor and proceed on.  With tactful gentleness and subtlety it’s not that difficult to overcome such issues.

In our experience every teenager with whom we’ve worked has significantly increased their own motivation when we (1) first help them to IDENTIFY their very personal and meaningful dream goals and (2) then SET and (3) then MOVE AHEAD PROGRESSIVELY, DAILY with small, micro-steps toward those dream goals. Once they’ve set and are working toward them, surprisingly enough (!) their SELF-motivation increases significantly!!

So the process is
(1) Brainstorm dream goals,
(2) Whittle them down to one or two to work toward,
(3) Guide them in daily MICRO-steps – the smaller the better - actions toward their dreams.

BUT WAIT – there’s more:   you CANNOT simply ask them what their dreams and goals are. They will laugh or run from the room or ask “Why? What’s it to you?” or similar.  As a parent of a teen, your greatest tool is subtlety.

So – approach it ‘sneakily’ – to evoke or build a dream list [dreams, NOT goals] รจ  
·        “I heard _[your teen’s friend]_ was writing down their lofty, wild ’n crazy dream goals – just as an exercise.  Do you have any?”
·        “I’m just curious – what do you want to be doing and where do you want to be living – when you’re 35 years old?”
·        “If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?”
·        “Humor me – make me laugh – list me the top 10 dreams you have in your life”
·        “If you had all the money you needed, what would you do as a job, and where would you live, and with whom?”
·        Do you remember that movie that had a Bucket List? If you developed your own Bucket List, what would you put on it?
·        [insert your own here] _______________________________
·        [add another one here] _______________________________

And the number one excellent FOLLOW-UP question to every one of these is

·        “Why?...”

·        – Because the answer to that question will reveal A LOT more than the starter question!!!

WHAT IF IT DOESN’T GO WELL?  - Tune in next for Episode Three

If you’d like clarification or more information or tools or guidance, please message us at – and we’ll be back to you quickly!