When your teen doesn’t care about consequences
You’ve tried soft love, tough love, punishment, discipline, and consequences. Seriously, what’s left? It’s like trying to put a screaming toddler in a timeout after they go completely limp. You have no leverage.
Your teen doesn’t care no matter what you do.
You’ve watched the videos, read the posts, followed the steps, and it’s NOT WORKING! Nothing fazes them and they’re not changing. You’ve tried conversations, sharing your beliefs, and discussing why your teen’s behaviour isn’t working. Still nothing.
You’re at your wits end, feeling defeated and frustrated.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Remember learning Newton’s third law in school? Transactional thinking like that wasn’t intended for parenting or relationships i.e., you do this, then I’ll do this.
Relationships are more complex.
Behaviour change happens at a relational level, not a transactional level. Plus, retaliation doesn’t equal the scales, it ups the ante. Boundaries are an emotional currency, not a behavioural one.
When you’re frustrated with not seeing change or feeling heard, that all goes out the window and you use what you were taught as a child.
The downward spiral begins
- Begging, pleading and bartering
When asking nicely a few times doesn’t work, you start begging your teen to play along, pleading not to have to take further action. While trying to appeal to their human decency and common sense, you unknowingly put your teen in power seat.
“Why won’t you just listen? Please don’t make me do this.”
“Oh, come one! What’s it going to take?”
“If you show us you respect our limits for one week, we’ll get you the new Nintendo Switch.”
2. Guilt, shaming and comparison
As your frustration rises, you push back. This is so familiar it’s often reactionary and unconscious.
“How could you do this to us? After everything we do for you, you’re so selfish!”
“Why are you being so difficult? Your brother/sister never did this to us.”
3. Threats and ultimatums
You’re done playing Mr. Nice Guy and your teen needs to know you mean business. You’re making it clear what you want, and they can take it over leave it! If it’s their choice, they had it coming.
“Either you come home by midnight or else!”
“Either you clean your room by dinner time or I’m taking your phone for a week!”
4. Manipulation, coercion, and retaliation
You’ve reached DEFCON 1 and declare means war. Your teen is obviously the spawn of Satan who only cares about themself so you’re using whatever leverage you can so they comply with your requests and boundaries.
“You think your life revolves around your phone? Let’s see if you’ll do what I asked when I take it for a week!”
“If you can’t show some respect, you’re not coming on vacation with us.”
“That’s it! We’re returning your Christmas presents and you’re grounded for a month!”
There’s no winner. But there is another way.
You and your teen become numb to each other as the pain and sadness of disconnection are masked by fear, anger, defensiveness, and blame. You feel like you’re failing (you’re NOT!!), and your teen feels they’ve failed you (even if that’s now how it looks).
Consequences were never intended to control your teen. If you’re like me, that’s what you learned (along with the 4 examples above) from your well-intended parents. Even if it worked on you, your teen seems immune to it all.
What if consequences were a tool to connect with your teen AND correct behaviour? What if consequences were an opportunity for compassion that increased respect with your teen, so they made different choices without the nagging or reminding?
This is just one of the 5 topics I’m covering in my LIVE Challenge – 5 Days to a Better Relationship with Your Teen, starting January 10th. Over 1000 parents took this challenge last year and created amazing results using the simple, proven tools I share.
“I felt like my daughter hated me every day. A couple of weeks later I’ve changed my entire approach and it’s like night and day! No more eye rolling, dirty looks or head shaking. My husband said, ‘This is amazing.’ “
Registration is open NOW for the LIVE Challenge happening in a private Facebook group from January 10th – 14th. Click below for details and secure your spot TODAY!
Parenting IS hard and you don’t have to do it alone.