By Edwin Choy, Centre for Fathering
Our next discussion will be on how fathers as coach can avoid problem talk and initiate solution talk with their teens. To begin let’s understand the ways we usually lapse into problem talk.
Some words tend to be problematic in our conversation with teens. ‘You always’ is a phrase that will get us into a hot spot with our teens or anyone for that matter. When someone claims you always commit a particular error, it puts you on the defensive. The reason is that while we sometimes commit the error, we do not do it all the time. Sometimes we do get it right! Focusing on the error and generalizing it is problem talk.
‘It’s your fault’ is another problem talk. We all know that problems usually have different contributing factors. To completely lay it on one person is fault finding and results in anger building. It also shifts the responsibility to the person. Accusatory words like ‘you are the cause of our troubles’ have similar effect.
Another problematic way which we deal with our teens is the use of punishing silence. I’m tired of talking to you. It’s not getting into your head. Such an approach will create an impasse in your relationship with your teens, blocking the path to solutions.
“Some words tend to be problematic in our conversation with teens. ‘You always’ is a phrase that will get us into a hot spot with our teens or anyone for that matter.”Edwin Choy
As you recall, one principle for solution -focused coaching is to “do something different if what we do is not working!” Fathers coaching their teens need to stop using problem talks that lead to nowhere but create more anger and anxieties in our teens. Next week, we will discuss how to initiate solution talks with our teens.
Reflection pointers for fathers …
1. A father’s word has tremendous impact on a child’s life. What we say will translate into how the child feels about the way you perceive him.
2. What is one thing you wish your child will do differently; recall how you engage her with regards to this issue. Was it problem-focused or solution focused ?
Action pointers for fathers …
Take your children swimming this weekend. The element of water is always fun and they will look to daddy for the security that you will save them if they go underwater.
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