By Edwin Choy, Centre for Fathering
Today we shall focus on how we can use “solution talk” with our teens in a conflict. It is very common for teens to collide in their values with that of their parents. Last week we learnt that using problem talk in the form of blame and shame is not helpful. The good news is that parents can learn how to talk to our teens in a way they would listen.
The first step involves converting the problem into goals. Instead of focusing on the problems, it is better to be clear about what you want to see happen. With a clear goal in mind, we can engage our teens in the following ways:
a. Describe the problem calmly and give your teens the benefit of a doubt. For example you might say after describing the problem situation “you probably do this because”
b. Describe what you want to see happened instead. This is the goal you wished instead of the problems. The clearer you are about this goal to your teens, the easier it will be to achieve them. We cannot assume our teens know what we want.
c. Explain the benefits of achieving this goal. Our teens usually are not good at co-operating when they cannot see any benefits to what we asked them to do.
d. Express confidence in your teens to accomplish this goal. When our teens feel affirmed by us even in a conflict, they are more motivated to make changes toward a new goal. One way to express confidence in them is to draw on your teens’ past successes in dealing with similar situations.
e. When it is finally achieved, don’t forget to celebrate! Every small step taken by our teens in a positive direction needs to be appreciated and affirmed.
“Don’t forget to celebrate! Every small step taken by our teens in a positive direction needs to be appreciated and affirmed.”Edwin Choy
The above are just one possible approach to engage your teens in a solution focused coaching rather than problem talk. There are no guarantees in any approaches. However, when parents are able to focus on solutions rather than problems and at the same time draw on their strengths rather than highlighting their weaknesses, you have far greater chance of success in coaching your teens!
Next week we will discuss what we as coaches can do when our teens approach us to help them with their problem situation.
Reflection pointers for fathers …
- Remember a time when you wanted to achieve a goal. What helped you achieve the desired outcome? How can you apply that experience to your child?
- What is the predominant strength or positive trait in your child? How can you leverage on that to coach your child into solutions.
Action pointers for fathers …
Ask your children tonight what they would like to eat tomorrow. Download a recipe and try to cook it for them. Make a backup plan to order something they will definitely like to eat in case your attempted cooking session is not good.
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