Behaving Badly

In a recent coaching session, my client asked to work on “Temper”. As we dived deeper into the issue behind his temperament, he shared something very interesting to me. His frustrations arises from interactions with his teenage daughter who apparently failed on multiple occasions to follow house rules.

“I have said it once, and I have said it multiple times, I don’t know how many more times do I have to tell her.” Was the exact words from my client.

For those of you who are a parent or about to go through parenting, this must not be something that is complete foreign to you. No matter what you say to your teenage daughter or son, those messages just seem to have lost into a dead space.

Whether you are a single parent, co-parent, becoming a parent or just simply interacting with a teenage family member, he or she behaving badly is a common challenge you will have to face at some point. Your frustrations, anger, worry, fear and guilt will be trigger by the behavior of your child.

Yes, Of course. There are several ways you can deal with awkward age of your child. You can scold them every time they behave badly. Alternatively You can send them to boarding school so they receive some kind of discipline from someone else. And you can also stay in your bed and feel guilty about what you have and haven’t done for them.

Of course we have a choice of how to react to their misbehaviors.

What we also have is the power to provoke their ability to think by using some of the empowering questions.

Recently, my nine year old nephew sent a message in our family group text. One afternoon, all of us received a text during school hours and the word “Shit” was sent to everyone of us. Soon he followed this text by explained to us that it was his friends who did this. I felt irritated and disturbed. Nine year old sending text messages during school hours and using bad words appear to be fun to them.

But as adult, we have the ability to think and react.

When you child repeatedly using profanity at home or outside, how do you react to them? What can you say to change that behavior?

Instead of being angry and showing my anger, I simply replied with this message to him:

“Be careful on who you choose to be friends with. Doing things with friends can be a lot of fun. But think about what your friends believe is fun. Using bad words maybe fun for your friends, but What do YOU think FUN is?”

Instead of tell him “No! Don’t use bad words.” Why not get them to think about what is the meaning behind what they have just done? How does that make them feel? What would have happened if they were to behave differently?

Now, going back to my client at the beginning. We came up with a plan so he can use to control his own temperament when he come face to face with his teenage daughter.

“Stop, Look, Listen.” He said.

He will commit to stop and observe the situation. Look at what is really going on with the situation and Listen to what is being said and unsaid.

When is the last time you really stop, look and listen to your child? Understanding why they are having such a horrible time going through this awkward age? What are they experiencing right now? And lastly, When is the last time you use empowering questions to stimulate your child’s thinking process?

Loving require time and patience.
You can’t simply plant seeds and expect to have a beautiful garden without nurturing it.

You give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime. –Chinese Proverb.


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