Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
Ask a parent of a teenager if they’d rather have a conflict with their teen or a root canal, and many of them would say it’s a toss-up. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can have a successful conversation with your teen without both of you blowing a gasket and making things worse. With some forethought the encounter can actually be productive.You can have a successful conversation with your teen without both of you blowing a gasket. Click To Tweet
1. Be prepared. Pray about what the true issue is. Ask God for wisdom for how to state your concern. (James 1:5) Think about the one point you need to make. Do not chase rabbits. Preparation will help you keep on target.
2. Affirm them. Say something good about your teen. She needs to hear that. Tell her you love her. Say how glad you are that she is in your family. Begin the conversation on affirming ground.
3. Share your concern. Remember to attack the problem (perhaps the misbehavior) rather than him personally. He is not stupid. He is not a failure. He won’t necessarily always be defiant. Focus on the problem.
Even though this step is the actual reason you’re having this serious talk, it doesn’t have to be long. State your concern and move along.
4. Close your talk with another affirmation. Think of your confrontation as a sandwich where you slide your concern in between two positive statements about your teen.
Caution: you do need to be firm. You are the parent and sometimes the parent needs to play the bad-guy role. Do not sugarcoat your teen’s misbehavior. Lay out current or future consequences. Express your disappointment if needed. However, surrounding your concern with positives keeps the issue in perspective. It also can prevent overstating the issue to the point where your teen tunes you out.Remember to attack the problem (perhaps the misbehavior) rather than him personally. Click To Tweet
Bottom line: think ahead. Prepare for your talk beforehand, and your conversation may be more productive than you think.