1. Wait for the “Teachable Moments”
Sharing around the family dinner table is an impactful time of teaching and mentoring family values. Yet, it’s the real-life, spontaneous moments that we may remember most. When it comes to “Wait for the Teachable Moments,” the key word here is “wait.”
Teaching too much, or for too long, or with a hint of shame or anger in your tone, will quickly deliver that classic, teen eye-roll response. (Parents know this eye-roll well!)
If you want to cook up a delicious “Teachable Moment,” make sure you have these tasty ingredients:
1. Child/teen says or does something WRONG, inappropriate or immoral.
2. Parent stays CALM. Doesn’t over-react.
3. Parent gently ASKS child if he/she can respond; and child affirms he/she is ready to listen and engage.
4. Parent shares nuggets of WISDOM in a short, dialogue manner the youngster can relate to and understand.
5. Parent is open to child’s reactions and feelings. Child may feel enlightened. If child feels ashamed or “defective,” parent is there to listen and reassure the child that he/she is loved.
6. Everyone smiles.
2. Respond to Their Social Media
As we all know, there is so much GARBAGE on teen social media. In our efforts to raise teens with integrity, morals and values, we understand that social media can sometimes send the OPPOSITE message that we parents are sending.
The remedy? Follow them on social media. And when you see something that disturbs or concerns you, wait for that “Teachable Moment” (see above) and teach something valuable.
3. Invite Empathy
I speak and write a lot about this beautiful word.
Empathy is the key that unlocks all human relationships.
Look for opportunities to invite your teen to practice empathy by listening to your feelings and reflecting them back to you. (You can model this too!)
-Your daughter wants to go out with some friends you don’t care for, and she wants you to give her $50 for the outing. Say, “I don’t want to control you. But I would feel better supporting you if you understood my concern about this group of friends, and you showed empathy towards me. If you can do that I will feel better about giving you the $50.”
-Your son wants you to take him to practice but he has been playing Fortnite for hours, hasn’t done his chores, and recently yelled at you. “Son, I’m not sure I feel like taking you to practice anymore. We are not ok. I need you to please understand that I feel sad when you yell at me and refuse to do your chores. If you can show me some empathy AND finish your chores, then we can discuss driving you to practice.”
4. Help Them Get a Job (or Require it)
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE seeing teenagers work at a job!
FIVE Values Learned on a Job Site
1. The real world is diverse, filled with all types of characters you have to get along with.
2. You are not entitled to anything because the real world does not owe you anything.
3. The real world will not be easy on you.
4. Hard work, making money, and serving others feels good.
5. The real world requires you to mature and learn about respect, punctuality, perseverance, and grit.
5. Family Service Outings
The Thomas family served food at the Bay Area Rescue Mission.
Three generations of the Lee family volunteered together in Thailand.
The Gillman and Dunn clans helped cook for their grandfather’s 80th party.
Three generations of Wilfords served together at the Monument Crisis Center in Concord.
These are the real names of actual local families serving, volunteering and caring for others—together.
Serving together teaches our kids the value of service, gratitude, charity, and the power of family.
How we help teens and parents:
Sean Donohue Family Coaching provides in-home coaching and mentoring to hurting and defiant teenagers, and we show parents how to restore love, order and communication to their family.
If your family is hurting or struggling with communication or defiance, we would love to partner with you and help you to restore love and communication in your home. We come to you. We don’t want or need “an office.” We connect with teens while doing activities they enjoy doing and meet with families in their homes.