In this week’s successful parenting article about life coaching for children, I want to share my take on talking with teenagers; what works, what doesn’t, and how you can to do it in a better way. I am bringing in all my kids coaching experience on this one. As you will notice, there is a range of articles and videos on this blog on various topics including communication and raising teenagers. Please feel free to browse each of them as they bring a slightly different perspective on the matter.

Many of the parents I help through parenting classes tell me how difficult it is talking with their teenage kids. My answer to them is always the same: maybe you don’t need to talk. Instead, try and see what happens when you listen more to them. We spoke about attentive listening as a good parenting skill in last week’s life coaching teenagers post. 

Life coaching skills for parents

Teenagers, in general, are fed up with being talked to! Every adult under the sun “talks” to them, or rather “talks at them”. What they are not used to is having adults listen to them. This is one of the reasons why they lose connection with their parents and seek it in their friends or other things. To succeed in coaching kids, you need to be a good listener.

Remember when you were a teenager? Everybody was telling you what to do, what not to do, everything that will happen if you cross the line. And, let’s face it; most of those conversations were not calm and mature, rather, shouting and challenging. However, when you become an adult you want to repeat those things you didn’t like as a teenager.

So, let me make this proposal to help you boost your successful parenting skills

 Leveraging on my experience as a life coach for kids, I want you to take these three simple steps whenever an argument is brewing with your teenage child.

First Step:

Prepare to give yourself a timeout. If you engage in the conversation in an emotional state, you will not listen to them and, what will they do? Yeah, you probably got it right. They will not listen to you either. When you do this, I want you to take a few deep breaths and have a line that will always be the same, something like “I think we are not communicating well and this might end up badly. I am going to take a few minutes and come back to you so we can talk like adults.”

Whatever you do, keep it brief and mutual. Successful parenting is about the two of you. I mention this a lot in my parenting classes.

What you are doing here is anticipating conflict and digging deep into your resources to change that by avoiding escalation. As a professional life coach for kids, I have realized that everything we do creates a model for our children to follow. Thus, by giving yourself space you are teaching your children that it’s OK to get upset, but it’s not convenient for a good chat. You are also demonstrating how they can do it by themselves.

Second step:

Do it. Go for a coffee, walk around the block or to your bedroom. Whatever suits you, but when you do it, make a conscious effort to take deep breaths for as long as you can. In fact, I’d like you to breathe while counting down from 769 to 748.

Life coaching teens

Breath in. Breath out: 769

Breath in. Breath out: 768

Breath in. Breath out: 767

What you are doing is:
1) creating a safe space for yourself
2) breathing to control your emotions
3) distracting your thoughts by focusing on the numbers.

Third step:

Go back to your child. Thank them for the time they allowed you and calmly ask them if they want to talk about it.

For example, “Thanks Toby, for giving me the time. I am feeling better now, and I think we can talk about this in a way that I can explain myself and listen to you. Would you like to talk about it?”

What you are doing here is coaching kids by being an example of maturity and, most importantly, respecting their decision to talk or not.

Successful parenting takes time, so don’t give up

Helping kids life coaching teenagers

Be ready for your son or daughter to be confused, to follow you, or find ways to annoy you and continue the fight. They are probably not used to this approach, and subconsciously, they prepared themselves for battle. As you do it more often, they will eventually mirror your behaviour.

Repetition and consistency are critical parts of kids coaching process. Keep doing it. It gets easier and better. This is another point I emphasize in parenting classes.

Go ahead and let me know what happens.

I am creating more videos and articles on this topic. However, you might want to browse through these reference articles I found and see if they help you as well.

Suggested Reading.