By Christine Agro
It’s easy to get into a negative loop, where nothing is right, nothing is good enough, and your relationship with your teen is just one complaint after another.
Have you ever watched your teen in these moments? They roll their eyes at the sound of your voice, they retreat to their rooms, they sigh, and they look utterly defeated.
When you find yourself here, you need to do a hard stop and reset.
When Caidin was little, I learned that negativity becomes a snowball rolling downhill, gathering both speed and weight. It builds on itself and becomes the norm. The more I complained or corrected, the more there was to correct. His behavior became worse, not better.
Unhappy with this dynamic, I stopped myself and asked, ‘what does Caidin need right now?’ Here’s what I tapped into: he needed to know what to do, rather than being told what not to do. He needed to know that he had done something right, not wrong. He needed to feel positive.
That is when I discovered the power of positivity.
As soon as I changed my focus to what was going right, what was good, the negative loop stopped. There were many times throughout the years I had to hit the reset button and pull us out of negativity. It can be so easy to slide into ‘what isn’t working.’
Yet, I forgot to bring the power of positivity into the mix as Caidin stepped into his tween years. What I see is that as our kids get older, we can forget they are still kids. They kind of look like adults, they are having adult-like conversations with us, but they are still learning and growing.
As soon as I applied positivity to my conversations and interactions with Caidin, things shifted again. I went from nagging him to thanking him. Thank you are two incredibly powerful words, and sometimes the only words we need to step into positivity.
The trick is to catch your child doing something you can appreciate and then tell them you appreciate it. Even if at first you have to ask them to do it.
They feed the animals.
They take out the garbage.
They bring their clothes down.
I know some people feel that kids should just do things and not need thanks or gratitude, but let’s check that for a moment. Who likes to do things and not be appreciated or acknowledged? Kids don’t work for us. They are apart of our family, and they should help to make it all work, but we should also show appreciation for their contribution.
So here’s the plan:
Identify something you want your teen to do. Ask them to do it if you need to. When they do it, tell them how much you appreciate what they did. That’s it. The positive shift may not happen on your first go. It may take several times for things to change, but stick with it and stay away from the negative. Bite your tongue if you have to. It will be worth it in the long run.
Christine Agro is a Conscious Living & Conscious Parenting Expert, seen on Good Morning Connecticut, Good Day Chicago, Late Night with Seth Meyers, featured in The New York Times and quoted in various outlets. Her life’s mission, aside from raising a Conscious Child, is to offer a perspective on our day-to-day lives that provides clarity, insight, and life changing ‘aha’ moments.Christine can be found at www.awakenandgrow.com and on all social media as @christineagro and she’d love to hear from you!