Most of the time, extreme “discipline problems” have absolutely nothing to do with discipline.

That’s right. Absolutely NOTHING. It’s a “thinking error.” We put the teen’s behavior in a little box inside of our heads. Let’s call it “Whadehell?” Hundreds of years of medieval programming, passed from generation to generation, then exert their powerful effects on our attitude and behavior.

Why would anyone want to be using parenting techniques most suitable for the 15th century?

First off, if positive interaction just isn’t happening despite your best efforts, then the first part of your job is quite simple. But it’s also more difficult and time-consuming. All sorts of bells should be going off in your head telling you that you actually have a relationship problem.

Whadehell?

Yup. Forget discipline

What you’re probably looking for is a lot more cooperation on your teen’s part. But how in the world are you going to get someone to cooperate with you and you can’t even have a normal conversation with them, right? If you want to be truly effective, you’re going to want to do two things. You’ll want to repair the relationship first, then sharpen your communication skills while you’re at it.

The difficult part is to put your emotions aside. I know that’s a tall order, but it is what it is. Unless you can force yourself to remain calm and be rational, your problem is about to explode in your face.

Here’s a little something to motivate you. I hope it works for you as well as it works for me. If you give in to responding to your emotions, you have unwittingly allowed your child’s problem to be bigger than you. You’ve also allowed your child to be in control of your emotions, and therefore your behavior. The tail is wagging the dog.

What a bummer! Instead of teaching your child a useful lesson for life like a wise parent, you have allowed your child to pull your chain. I think about the truth of that and I’ll stay calm for sure. It only took a few years.

If your teen is upset, let her rant and rave herself out of breath. If you have to say something, set your tone of voice and pitch on “normal.” Be the adult in the room. Your kid is not the problem.

The good news is… neither are you. Thank goodness. So what’s the problem? I know my answer will seem almost insulting in its simplicity. But PTT did promise you a unique combination of age-old common-sense and cutting edge scientific research, didn’t we?

To make a long story short, get into ugly confrontations and you end up not seeing, not listening, not feeling what is standing right there in front of you right below the surface of your defiant, stubborn, disrespectful, or irresponsible youngster.

We have to dig deeper… within ourselves. Your child is not the problem.The problem is the problem. D-uh!

That’s the first clue in knowing what you have to do. That’s your child, the fruit of your own loins. We don’t like admitting it, but eight times out of ten, what you’re dealing with is a little miniature version of you at that age.

Talk about grandparent’s revenge!

Recall our little joke if you must, then pull out a 21st century technique out of your parenting tool-box.

Mentally, its about positioning yourself at your youngster’s side. Don’t be on the opposite side with the problem coming in between you. You’re not adversaries.

Whadehell? Why don’t you go ahead and do it physically too. It actually helps. Let this concept permeate your thinking, your demeanor and your way of interacting. Don’t take over. It’s her problem. You’re only there to help figure it out, but you’re going all the way.

Once you have that stance correct, figuring out the rest gets a whole lot easier. Like one parent said to me last night, “I’m not screaming any more.”

She’s practicing high-level discipline. Go forth and do likewise.