Monday, February 25, 2019


Basic rule of thumb: EMOTIONS overrule logic EVERY TIME.  But you probably remember that from your dating or courting days… 😁  [I had a college prof who said “love is finding someone to confirm your misconceptions.”]

Now, remind yourself of the tsunami of emotions coursing through your teen’s head all day, every day!! 
·        Dating – ‘does s/he like me, or even know I exist?’ 
·        ‘Do my peers think I’m cool?’ 
·        ‘Do I care/ should I care? What if they don’t?’ 
·        ‘And when I get home – those parents harassing me all day, every day.’ 
·        ‘And my teachers – don’t they know I don’t care about this subject – I’ll never use it – and anyway – you’re a lousy teacher.’

And all of this, ultimately, while your teen is trying to build and save that fragile self-image that’s growing and even re-shrinking every day.

What’s a parent to do?  First – patience [you knew that].  But then, support.  And as I’ve said before – NEVER say “I know just how you feel” – you will shut them down EVERY time.

BTW – I’m not suggesting parents be wusses – simply empathize.  The more you empathize, the stronger your relationship will become – allowing for FAR GREATER impact and influence in situations in which you may NEED to be stronger – perhaps like excess phone time, addictions to things like gaming – or worse, even ‘hanging out’ with the wrong people.

When you’re attempting to understand, it’s always good to have a RELEVANT story from your past that you can use [fictional is OK but not preferred].

So – the next time your teen begins to act a little irrational or unreasonable or over-angry or over-reactive, pause, take a breath, try to understand – and buckle in!

Oh, one more great tool - to re-establish control of any conversation – ASK a QUESTION!

Friday, February 22, 2019


One of my favorite courses in grad school was Concept Acquisition – the study of how we “acquire” or learn the concept of anything: [the concept of] 2, boy/ girl, tree, math, anything. Now, before you fall asleep, I’ll get to the point:

Key element: ‘distinctive features’ are the unique elements of how we differentiate between TREE and 2 and PIZZA, etc.  THE PROBLEM is that, when we’re teaching or coaching or explaining, what seems incredibly obvious to you or me – they miss or have no clue what you’re talking about! L

YOU have experienced this yourself every time a young person shows you something on a computer – and that cursor goes flashing across the screen – and they say – “ya see?” – and you have NO CLUE what they just showed.

My point? When you’re teaching or coaching, you need to ASK what they see or thought – VERSUS what you were trying to point out.  You might believe it was incredibly obvious – and maybe even be poised to say something sarcastically.  DON’T!  You need to know what they saw or perceived or noticed before you can re-direct them.

[the concept of] “Mom is a lot like Grandma – except that Mom’s face doesn’t have wrinkles, and her hair is darker in color, and she’s a little bit thinner than Grandma – but they look a lot alike, and sometimes they even say the same things – but they’re NOT the same [concept]. Can you see that? How do YOU think they’re alike AND how are they different?”

So the main and major point is to ASK what they perceive or differentiate – and then work from there, toward whatever you’re trying to teach or explain.  In this case, it might be teaching how to draw faces or such.

Personal note: I tend to think – and perceive - holistically – so I often see similarities in people that others with whom I’m talking completely disagree and see NO similarity!  Point made?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Today’s teens live in a different world than their parents.  They have SO many more options and opportunities than we did.  And we certainly wouldn’t want to take those away. HOWEVER, that has led to more time pressures than any other segment of society, probably including mothers of newborns or infants. 

So what can you do, what can they do?

In fact, it presents a great opportunity for two things: (o) thinking, and (o) decision-making.

I saw a great quote: “You can do anything, but you just can’t do everything.”

So encouraging your teen to THINK, weigh the alternatives, look at the upside of choosing one thing and the downside of another is a powerful, adult-like step.

Ask your teen to lay out, list, identify the pro’s and con’s of a choice, [gently] add your own, then discuss.  In most cases, let them make their decision. [DON’T BE A HELICOPTER PARENT – if you do, you’re preventing and preempting their growth.]

And BTW – one of those decisions may be how to manage their time better than before!

There are also a couple things to do after the fact, after the decision:
discuss the choice, what s/he LEARNED from it, how they might approach a similar situation ‘next time.’

I’ve always disliked applying the sports term “sudden death” to our lives.  Except for actual death, almost everything can be re-done. “Oops, missed!  Try again!” [although if you hear your surgeon say that, get up off the operating table and RUN!]

As in EVERY element of life, we make our choices – and our choices make us.  [teach your teen:] DECIDE, LEARN, REFLECT, MOVE AHEAD!