Being a parent is a huge undertaking. Dah! “Tell me something I don’t know!“ is perhaps what you are thinking! And, another revelation, sometimes being a teen is a difficult task! I am reminded of a cartoon that I saw recently while flipping through the pages of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul where the cartoon depicted a sign in a book store, hung from above, identifying Self-Help Books: on one side, A Parents Guide to Dealing with Difficult Teenagers, had several copies of very thin booklets; on the other side, A Teenagers Guide to Dealing with Difficult Parents, was lined with the same number of books but made very obviously to be thicker. With so many “how to handle your parents” books depicted on that shelf, I guess we parents can be a handful!
Coaching often allows me the opportunity to share with parents and teens simple but powerful presuppositions. These presuppositions are aimed at the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that underlie a person’s behavior. As you read the presuppositions below, contemplate the shift not only your teen could create, but also a shift in you as a parent - understanding that many times our motivations for a particular behavior come from a desire to be loved, or heard, or appreciated, as well as from the very human penchant to blame, to control, or perhaps to be inflexible. Again, from the pages of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, I share with you an unknown author’s wisdom:
~“I Try to Remember”~
1. Everybody Doesn’t Have to Love Me
Not everybody has to love me or even like me. I don’t necessarily like everybody I know, so why should everybody else like me? I enjoy being liked and being loved, but if somebody doesn’t like me, I will still be okay and still feel like I am an okay person. I cannot make somebody like me, any more than someone can get me to like them. I don’t need approval all the time. If someone does not approve of me, I will still be okay.
2. It is Okay to Make Mistakes
Making mistakes is something we all do, and I am still a fine and worthwhile person when I make them. There is no reason for me to get upset when I make a mistake - I am trying, and if I make a mistake, I am going to continue trying. I can handle making a mistake. It is okay for others to make mistakes, too. I will accept mistakes in myself and also mistakes that others make.
3. Other People Are Okay and I Am Okay
People who do things I don’t like are not necessarily bad people. They should not necessarily be punished just because I don’t like what they do or did. There is no reason why other people should be the way I want them to be, and there is no reason why I should be the way somebody else wants me to be. People will be whomever they want to be, and I will be whomever I want to be. I cannot control other people or change them. They are who they are; we all deserve basic respect.
4. I Don’t Have to Control Things
I will survive if things are different than what I want them to be. I can accept things the way they are, accept people the way they are, and accept myself the way I am. There is no reason to get upset if I can’t change things to fit my idea of how they ought to be. There is no reason why I should have to like everything. Even if I don’t like something, I can live with it.
5. I Am Responsible for My Day
I am responsible for how I feel and what I do. Nobody can make me feel anything. If I have a rotten day I am the one who allowed it to be that way. If I have a great day, I am the one who deserves credit for being positive. It is not the responsibility of other people to change so that I can feel better. I am the one who is in charge of my life.
6. I Can Handle It When Things Go Wrong
I don’t need to watch out for things to go wrong. Things usually go just fine, and when they don’t, I can handle it. I don’t have to waste my energy worrying. The sky won’t fall in; things will be okay.
7. It Is Important to Try
I can! Even though I may be faced with difficult tasks, it is better to try than to avoid them. Avoiding a task does not give me any opportunities for success or joy, but trying does. Things worth having are worth the effort. I might not be able to do everything, but I can do something.
8. I Am Capable
I don’t need someone else to take care of my problems. I am capable. I can take care of myself. I can make decisions for myself. I can think for myself. I don’t have to depend on somebody else to take care of me.
9. I Can Change
I don’t have to be a certain way because of what has happened in the past. Every day is a new day. It’s silly to think I can’t help being the way I am. Of course I can! I can change.
10. Other People are Capable
I can’t solve other people’s problems for them. I don’t have to take on other people’s problems as if they were my own. I don’t need to change other people or fix their lives. They are capable and can take care of themselves, and can solve their own problems. I can care and be of some help, but I can’t do everything for them.
11. I Can Be Flexible
There is more than one way to do something. More than one person has had good ideas that will work. There is no one and only “best” way. Everybody has ideas that are worthwhile. Some may make more sense to me than others, but everyone’s ideas are worthwhile, and everyone has something worthwhile to contribute.