BR 48: 3 Ways to Handle Tough Issues with a Teenager Transcript
Hi, I’m Connie Sokol, a national speaker, bestselling author, program founder, and mother of seven and loving it. I’m reaching and teaching 1 million listeners to live a purposeful, organized, and joyful life. You can too. So let’s go.
Welcome back to Balance reDefined. I’m Connie Sokol and I’m so happy that you’re with me today for more great stuff about living a more purposeful, organized, and joyful life.
So today I am talking about dealing with teen issues. Have you had that experience where you are working with a teenager and you love them dearly but you just don’t know what to do?
So this happened to me recently and I thought I’d share a few things that I learned because it’s really funny. I, I have seven children and six of them are, have been or are, you know, teenagers. So I was thinking, I kind of been around the block a little bit.
I probably know a few things, you know, have some understanding, but I don’t know about you. Every single child is a whole new world. It’s like you’ve learned some things, you have a baseline and then they push it, they push it to that edge to the next level and it’s just annoying. Anyway, I love them so, so much. I truly fiercely do and it just brings me to my knees trying to get some answers of what do I do with different situations.
So I thought I’d share three key things that I learned through a recent experience with one of my children. And hopefully you can get some insights and I would love to hear yours in the comments below. So we’re having some issues where smaller things, that’s where it starts, right? It’s the smaller button heads over modesty. You know, mom is so old fashion, she doesn’t like me having 52 rips in my jeans.
You know what’s wrong with her and friends, you know, hanging out with guys because now they’re 16 and so it’s different. But then it’s not different mom and I know what I’m doing and just these kinds of encounters where I’m like, ah, how do I impart big picture wisdom to someone who is seeing the here and now and wants what they want and good kids love my kids and they’re good kids.
But just um, there’s so much coming at them in our society today, it’s really difficult for kids to be able to create some very strong moorings and be able to have those footings, those shore footings for their lives to be able to say, I know what is true and I know the things that will give me a safe harbor that will guide me and help me to be able to move forward in a way, not just for now, but in the future so that I will be able to keep all paths and all opportunities open.
And that’s what I’m trying to get across to my teenager is, I am one, I’m your mom. I have a stewardship over you and I love you and I want the best for you. I want your happiness and I want to have all kinds of opportunities available to you and helping you make good decisions now and in the future. That’s my only goal. But of course, that comes off as the far side. Blahblahblah Ginger, Blahblahblah Ginger, right?
So anyway, things kind of came to a head of course about, you know, guys and dating and what that looks like and driving and these big kind of big-ticket items. And I was really at a loss and we kind of came to a head and we were just really toe to toe kind of feeling. And I just thought, wow, I don’t want it to be like this. What can I do?
And so it came to a head where it was like she was upset and like I feel like you’re just, she didn’t feel like I was super controlling her, but kind of like, ah, don’t you trust me and don’t you just know that I, I’ve got this right. And were you as a parent are like, I could see five steps down the road, have a little faith in me.
So it came to this real head and, and this Saturday morning we’re having a conversation and it came to a kind of a head and I said, you know, it’s great, why don’t we, we wanted to have a 16 year old discussion anyway, like to have a discussion with them when they’re 16 and you know, the big kind of marker points, 16,18 all of those, those kind of, 12, those, those kind of big moments markers 13 when they’re becoming a tweener at that kind of thing, 21, 45 you know, that kind of thing.
Anyway, so I said, why don’t we have that discussion? Because in my mind, I’m thinking, girl, this, we’ve got to really get some things nailed down because otherwise we’re just going to end up picking at each other and it’s going to feel like I’m harping on her. So we’ve got to have some–lay the ground rules. And I had been kind of putting it off because I really didn’t know what I wanted to say. So I said, why don’t we have that discussion? And she said, great, why don’t we have it right now?
Yikes! I thought, oh, what do I do now? I thought I’d have a couple of hours to prepare. So I said, okay, give me just a sec, let me get some water in my water bottle. So I went and madly praying, what do I say? What do I say? And the feeling thought came, you know how I am about feeling thoughts. The feeling thought came, listen, just listen.
So I got my ye old white notepad and I said, “okay Darlin, I just want to listen to you for the next little bit. I just want to hear your thoughts on being 16 and what that looks and feels like to you.” And I did it you guys. I actually listened the whole time and it was what, 45 minutes I believe, but listen and took notes. Now here was the secret weapon here for me is that I was taking notes on the left hand side at night, throw out, you know, just she start talking and then I throw out another topic.
So electronics and dating and the car and modesty and church and those kinds of things and just kind of what do you think about that? What do you, what does that look like to you? And so I take notes that she was saying to me on the left hand side and then on the right, very small and discreetly, I was writing little buzzword notes that I wanted to be able to share with her later.
Not Defensive. Okay. Maybe a little, but I was writing down things that I wanted to make sure that I could help her understand because isn’t that the goal? The goal is to help them know they are understood and then for me to be understood by her. That is the goal is not lecturing, it’s not preaching, it’s not throwing out the I’m your mom and so you just do it. It’s trying to get to this apex of understanding one another.
And if that–we can achieve that, then we can have some real love, some real connection going on. So I listed those notes and then as right in the middle of that, I had this other feeling thought of “ask her if she had a 16-year-old daughter what she would want her daughter to do”. And so I did, I asked her that and as it came out of my mouth I thought that’s a good question.
So she said, oh well and then she starts telling me what she would tell her daughter and how she would go about it with a 16 year old daughter. And I have to tell you, it was very insightful and it was interesting because so often she ended up saying the very things that I was saying to her, just seeing it a little bit differently. Isn’t that interesting?
And I was so proud of myself because no, I did not stop her in mid-sentence and say, well that’s what I’m saying. I did not super proud of myself. It’s biting the inside of my cheeks, but I did not. I just let her speak and it was very, it was reassuring and thrilling to me to hear that. Mostly she, we were on the same page. That wasn’t the problem.
And then lastly, when I asked her for insights basically of what I could do differently or what it was that was making it stressful, it really came down to approach. She just said it really sometimes I feel like it’s too much. It’s a little overbearing now. This is the same daughter who when we were talking about going and serving people, you know, at Christmas time, she’s the same one that was like, “Can you stop talking about service all the time? Mom, that’s all you do. You just serve all the time!”
And, and I, I honestly, I try not to about it had to start laughing because it was just so hysterical. Like I had just done and committed the ultimate thin as a mother is that I could not stop the serving. And I said, you know, we’ll just discuss that on another day.
But Anyway, um, the beautiful thing that came out of that experience was that I just felt so much love for her. I really did. And I shared that with her. I said, I just love you. Appreciate that. Your goodness. Appreciate who you are. Really appreciate this time that we’ve talked together. If you don’t mind, I want to think about what you’ve said and I want to come back and just share any thoughts and I might want to share and then we can talk about those. But I really appreciate you sharing this and being really open and honest and candid.
So we ended up on this like beautiful moment. Good, wonderful. The next day, is church after church, blah, blah blah. We’re talking, it’s in the evening and I’m thinking we’re all doing good and I haven’t come back and talked with her yet because I’m still trying to figure out what the, hey I’m doing and then we have another thing at, because it’s all back to an hanging with this guy and how much he’s going to hang with them because it’s just this woosh of two weeks of nothing but wanting to be with this guy. And we had another thing and was just like, ah, what do I say this time?
And the feeling thought came as we were, she kept picking apart different words and then debating it. I just said, sweetie, I feel like I’ve tried to share with you what I’m thinking and feeling three different ways and I feel like you’re still not hearing it.
So I tell you what, why don’t you go pray about it? Why don’t you get that from Heavenly Father and again, whatever your divine beliefs are, you just insert them there. But I just said, why don’t you go pray and get your own answers because I don’t know how else I can share with you the thoughts that are in my heart. So she goes downstairs and she’s upset again and I–inside. I’m like, what am I doing wrong?
So here was the second good thing that I felt to do. Well, I’ve given you some tips along the way, but the first one was to sit and just have that conversation to listen to her. And then I had little feeling thoughts that gave me direction along the way. The second thing was this was talk to a seasoned friend, someone who’s been through it and her name came right to mind.
And I thought, ah, I need to talk to her. So I text her and said, I know it’s a little bit late, but can I pop up for a minute? Ended up being an hour, bless her loving heart. I brought her some chocolate chip cookies we’d made earlier, thank goodness, but ended up getting, gleaning some wisdom, some life wisdom from her, and really confirmed and reassured some things in my heart.
Um, and, and some of those were, one of the things I want to share with you here was to stay the mom course. So I could change my approach and that would be really helpful. And I needed to with her, I needed to listen to what she was saying and I needed to stay that mom course that I knew in my soul what was going to benefit her in the future, and I knew it in my heart.
And not to veer from that with pressure from her tears are her frustration. I could change what I could, I could compromise on the approach, but the principles could not be compromised. Now when I say that, you know, on our modesty thing, it was, I like her stuff, her skirts down to her knee. Okay, well it doesn’t need to be, you know that she’s back in Victorian Times. I get it.
So now we have like an inch above the knee and a half and it’s good. Okay. So I’ve compromised. I feel really good about that. But this halfway up the thigh, not going to happen. Just not going to happen. And, and she can cry and pound the floor all day long. But in my mother’s soul, no, because I know there’s an image that you represent when you do that. Now you can have all kinds of things in the comments and you’re welcome to totally disagree and I am not moved, so feel free.
We all have our mother things that we know in our soul and we may come back 20 years later and go, yeah, that was really dumb. It doesn’t matter. That’s how we feel right now. And that’s the thing that gives me peace and lets me sleep at night. So that’s what it is. And I just am able to tell her, you know, you can chalk it up to mom being annoying.
Moms all have their quirks and that’s one of mine. So feel free. I want to make sure that you have this beautiful modest image that you project because it attracts certain, different kinds of people, the way that you project yourself. So that is my thought and feeling and you can probably see why she gets really annoyed with me. There you go. So anyway, after that I felt really good and I had some key things that I felt reassured about and here were some of the things that I felt really good after that conversation with my friend.
One of them was, yes, it was right to be concerned about how often she was spending a lot of time with this young man where ostensibly they weren’t dating, but they were just good friends. But it was getting very close and very intimate. Um, I mean in a good way. No, don’t let the imagination run.
But I love this one book called Unsteady. Oh, cannot remember. It’s Jeanette something. Can’t remember the author. I’ll figure it out. But it’s unsteady. It, it’s super, super good. Really great stuff. This lady, just, she’s a believer therapist, but she goes and talks to youth all over and really explains these concepts about dating in high school so well and helps you understand and helps me to help my kids understand that for example, she has this sort of chart of the affection needs to match the commitment. So when your friends, your affection as a friend is going to be different than when you’re dating, when you’re steady dating, when you’re engaged, when you’re married.
And the affection needs to match commitment. And so it’s been great for me to have these kinds of things to use in our conversations. So one of the things that she says in there is that how much steady dating in high school and junior high, uh, negatively affects girls especially, and it narrows their world. It actually makes them open to more controlling influences. They haven’t quite developed who they are yet and so they can kind of mesh with somebody else and not really start defining who they are.
Just really good stuff. And that just sat right in my soul. And so one of the things that my friend had done is that she said for every two steady dates they’d have, they needed to date somebody completely different on the third. And that’s the rule they set up in their family. So I was listening to her and the thought that came to mind to apply it in a way that worked for our family because that’s what we do.
We listened to others and then we apply it in a way that resonates with us, for our family. For Mine, I felt like, you know, this kid that she hangs out with in this group of kids, really good kids, love them, they’re great. Um, but it’s just the time they’re spending together and then they just kind of mesh and you know, studies even show that women were art chemistry kind of even adapts to the people that we end up spending so much time with.
So anyway, um, I just, I felt in my soul that she, she could hang out once during the week and then once on the weekend. But what I would love that would be really good for me and that would make me feel comfortable. And if in between she hung out with her girlfriends. So one friend, a bunch of friends, it doesn’t matter.
But she had that where she’s not dropping her good girlfriends because they are such a grounding influence and will be now and in the future, that whole pattern of having good girlfriends. So, um, anyways, so that was a big point to me and also that we need, it’s really establish a curfew.
Some kids, I haven’t had to do that with some kids I have and every child is different. And so I really felt like 11:30 pm was just good for her. I don’t know why, but that was just what felt really good. And so here were a couple of things that those, I just felt and wrote them down at thought maybe we need a write-up kind of a 10 commandments of being 16 kind of a thing where, where we really get on the same page and that’s kind of what we’re looking at together.
So anyway, come home, she knows nothing. We have family prayer, bottled, I can tell she’s still miffed and I give her love anyway the next day you will not believe this. The next day she texts me and says, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about the situation, thinking about what we talked about. I really feel like it might be good for um, for me to not spend as much time with him.”
And I think, you know, what you’re saying is, is decent and I can see what you’re saying and had some conversations with my friends and you know, kind of got out my annoyance and venting about you and you know, hope you don’t mind. And of course, it didn’t. I told her later, now you are free to say whatever. Um, but it was really great that she ended up having this same kind of feeling. And then she said, I want, I’ve had some epiphanies about why I feel the need to do these things.
Um, and why it’s been like that the last couple of weeks. And I want to share that with you after school. Like mom gold, that’s parenting gold. Like I want to talk with you about it. I’ve had some epiphanies, I’ve had some understandings and realizations. I was like jumping up and down feeling like, thank you. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for not letting me spout off all of my parenting Aka wisdom. Supposed, supposed.
And here she wanted to talk. And so after school we chatted, we texted a few things back and forth in an afterschool. We had such a great chat and, and we naturally ended up talking about these “10 commandments” in the, came down to three rules. Just three rules. The yeah, I’m going to just, you know, hang with him twice a week and it will be with a group of people, not necessarily alone.
Right. Just group of people. And then I’ll have a friend fun thing in between and we’ll do the 11:30 curfew and that sounds great. Now we came to other two points that she was like, I really want to do this. And I said, oh, I don’t know about that. Can I pray about that? Can I think about it and can we come back and talk about that again? And there was another one that she was pushing me on. She was like, you know, I really don’t want to go to this one thing that’s, it’s like a church-related thing.
And I just thought you know what? I want you to do what your soul feels is right to do these other things that we do, scripture, we go to church on Sunday, blah blah, blah. But this other thing was really an optional thing. And I was like, yeah, you know, feel free, whatever you feel like you need to do with that.
So again, I’m not saying what I’m doing is like the eaching and is like, oh, everyone in the planet should do this. I’m just sharing an experience that I’ve had. And then after we had that beautiful chat and we agreed we didn’t even need 10 commandments, it was just three rules and we both agreed and I said, you know, there’s probably going to be some things eventually or at some juncture in the next 24 hours that we’re going to have to address again. But I’m hoping with a couple of these kinds of things in place that we won’t have to really talk about every little nitty gritty thing we’ll be on the same page.
And, um, the last thing that I felt that I, I did that I felt like I tried to weave through everything and then really cemented with her with our conversation last night. And also I’m a text this morning was how much I trusted and loved her. And this was really important. And the reason why I’m sharing this is because all the way along I have had a thread of not trusting because she of all my kids is one of my, um, foray, little feeling, edgy, kind of asking a lot of questions why? And which is great.
That’s not a bad thing. But just the pushback, the constant pushback and, and yet the feeling that I’ve had with that is trust. Trust her, let her know you trust her and show her the evidence of that trust where I’ve been able to go back and say, ‘member asked you to do this and you didn’t have to, but you did and you could have done something different and I wouldn’t have known and you didn’t. You respected what I said.
I said, “that’s what gets you keys to the car. That’s what gets you a later curfew. That’s what gets you these privileges where I know that I can trust you and that gets you more freedom, which is really a life principle.” So I let her know how much I trusted her and loved her, appreciated her goodness and her maturity and the way that she worked this out. Believe me, we’ve had conversations that have not been anywhere near this mature. Both her and I.
So full disclosure, but I’m, I’m sharing this because it really was a great teaching experience from above that I felt like I was getting taught and so those are a couple of things.
The three things that I learned from this one was to just sit and listen and really listen and let them be candid.
And the second thing was be able to ask a seasoned friend someone that you know you can trust what they’re saying, not someone who’s going to agree with you. No, no, no. Someone you know who’s going to give you that candor and wisdom that you need to hear as a parent.
And then lastly, the trust and love you. You got to express trust and love. Now remember I always say trust but verify, right? We don’t blindly trust we trust but we let him know, go to verify this, right? And that’s a great thing to also encourage them to be trustworthy. But those three things were really huge to me.
Now I’ve shared some of the things that were woven in and those other feelings, thoughts I had like stay the mom course and I will say one more thing on that. Again, you are the adult. You are the advocate for them. You are the one that has been down the road and can see five steps down the road and it is your responsibility and stewardship to let them know and have clear choice for them that they see where something leads.
You can help them understand, well I can see what you’re saying. Let’s look at where that leads. Where does that take you? Where does that ultimately get you to, and this is so important that you stay that mom course that you, you know, you can change approaches, you know you can compromise on details, but those core principles that you know is going to–are going to help them now in, in their future to be truly happy and to have opportunity paths open to them.
That’s what’s crucial because there will come a day when they come back to you and say, you were the adult. Why didn’t you do better? Why didn’t you show me and tell me better? Even if I would have backed away and said, no, I’m not doing it. Why didn’t you give me a clear choice? We are not their friends per se.
We are their parents and we have a responsibility to model that faith-based, value-based, living the best way that we possibly know how to do it with integrity and kindness, excuse me, respect and joy and love to the best of our ability. And we have a responsibility to help them be able to get them on that path, to help them do that very same thing.
And if they want, I’ve told them over and over, when you’re 18 you don’t want this, Eh, the second you turn 18 you could say I’m wearing whatever clothes I want and I say, the world is yours, but I know I’ve done my job. I know that I’ve been true to what I think is the best way to help you move forward in life. And where I’ve done wrong, I apologize, but I want you to know that’s where my heart has been.
And I think truly I feel like if we can say that to our kids at the end of the day, we can sleep well. We can have a peaceful conscience and I know that that helps me have that. Now they may come back with a laundry list of things and my absolute response and bottom line baseline response to everyone in my children as well. Here’s 3000 for therapy and I’m so sorry. Hope it goes well.
I jest…kind of. But letting them know, listen, there’s no real handbook care except for scriptures and prayers. So I am doing the best that I can, but I hope you’ve learned something or gleaned something today or something sparked even. It has nothing to do with what I said, but something sparked for you as far as parenting children and it could be any age, but parenting in a way that helps to engender trust and love and kindness.
In the last couple of days I’ve had the sweetest texts from her even when, again, this morning of just thanks for your patience and understanding and, and coming in last night before she went to bed, thanks so much for working with me and helping me and helping me understand some things and really talking with me.
Wow! I just went to bed so happy. My heart was so full. I mean it’s again, not always like that, but those moments, parenting gold, and that’s what we’re after because those are the moments that really solidify those switch points of she’s on a good path and she’s, she’s going down the road.
Don’t go down that track a little farther in a good way. And we’ve had connection, we’ve had love, we’ve had respect, we’ve had understanding, and that’s at the end of the day, that’s the keeper.
So hopefully you’ve learned some things. I’d love to hear what was important to you and love to hear anything that you want to share, your parenting tips, we would love to learn from them.
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Hi, I’m Connie Sokol and thanks for listening today to Balance Redefined. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe and if you liked it, get even more life shifting. Learning with my free masterclass on Balanced Redefined Express, get clarity, purpose, organization, and joy in just six weeks. Register now at conniesokol.com/masterclass.