People’s behavior is highly predictable - simply by observing patterns of behavior – repeated actions.
Once is happenstance, twice – MIGHT be a pattern. Third recurrence probably shows a pattern. EXPECT IT TO RECUR.
In these Parents pages are numerous stories of teens doing outlandish, even unnerving or unpleasant things.
And the frequent pattern is that their parents were COMPLETELY surprised by them.
Any sports fan can tell you that almost anything the opposing team does – was ANTICIPATED by ‘our’ coach.
How is that possible? They review previous games – to look for PATTERNS – and then they PREPARE for them!!
So what might you, as a parent of a teen [their coach] prepare for? Following are the usual, frequent issues you may face. I’d strongly suggest you prepare at least four sequential reactions or strategies if and when these situations occur. Be prepared! You may deny that your teen would ever face these issues – and there’s a VERY good chance you’d be WRONG!
· Drunk or high @ home, school, police station?
· Grades spiraling downward?
· Distancing from you – emotionally
· Depression/ anxiety?
For EACH of them, PRE-PLAN, THINK AHEAD of what you might say or do – four steps is probably good. PROBABLY best to avoid the usual lecture – they simply zone out the moment they hear that in your voice. As a general rule, ASK far more than you TELL.
Be as specific and graphic as possible. Don’t ASSUME they’ll understand exactly what you mean if you use colloquial or conceptual terms. Use PARAPHRASING - which is NOT repeating back, but instead using their own words to explain. When they’ve done that, they will communicate to you EXACTLY what they understood – and what they MISSED – giving you the chance to clarify and reinforce.
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE invites if not requires an insightful, meaningful conversation – a dialogue, not a monologue - about these issues BEFOREHAND. That provides much time to hear your teen and let them hear your thoughts on the matter. If you don’t have these conversations before the situation occurs, be assured, after-the-fact is the WEAKEST possible time.
If you’d like any thoughts in or about these areas, please ask.