What if you could really trust that your teen was going to turn out all right?
How would your life be different? And hers?
How many stressful conversations would be avoided if you weren’t trying to alter the behaviour of your teen?
How much better would your relationship be then?
Might that not have a more positive impact on your child than telling them what to do (however subtly)?
With all the best intentions in the world, can you be sure that your attempts to influence your teen will lead to the best outcome? Can you be sure?
How might your teen see herself differently if you had faith in their ability to make the right choices (even though they might not be your right choices)?
Think of the many adults that you know who have horrendous tales of their teen years, but who have made fulfilling lives for themselves as adults – and maybe not in spite of their adolescent experiences but because of them.
How many adults do you know who were ‘good teens’ but are not happy adults.
So can you be sure that what you think is right for your child, is what is right?
Notice when your advice to your teen is driven by fear – fear that she won’t make her own right choices, fear that she won’t know what is best for her, fear that she’ll do something regrettable.
Do you want your child to live as a fear-based adult? Do you want her to be limited that way?
Do you trust her to want the best for herself? Are you sure that what drives her decision-making is not as good as what drives your decisions for her?
Would you having faith in her maybe encourage her to take responsibility for herself?
Children do want the best for themselves – even when it doesn’t look like it.
If you feel irritated with me while reading this, because what do I know about your situation, then you’ll be having the same response that I have when I read this kind of stuff. But, do you know, it works! I resist it, every time, and it makes me cross while I read it, but if I let it affect how I think, then it makes a difference. My relationship with my teen softens. Conflict disappears. And I don’t wake and worry.