I CAN’T Stand My Teen. Now What?

Recently, I’ve had a few parents reach out to me sharing a similar feeling of having their teen on their last nerve.

I’ve got to be honest, I know exactly how you feel. Recently, I’ve been catching myself being short tempered and impatient with my kids, not just my teens.

One of the things that’s been helping me with this is simply remembering that frustration is simply part of being a parent. In fact, I often remind myself that not only is it part of being a parent, but I signed up for this to help me grow and improve.

It’s also helpful to remind myself that I have the tools to handle my frustration. I try to remind myself, “Ben, you teach parents and teens about Emotional Intelligence all of the time, this is simply an opportunity to practice what you preach!”

I want to preface this podcast with a warning. I call it how I see it. This is not meant to offend, but is meant with all the love that I have for you. And, those of you who I have personally spoken too recently, you know how much I love and care about you!

If you haven’t spoken to me recently, I’m guessing you know how much I care.

So here we go.

YOU Are Responsible for How You Feel

I know, this one is obvious, but it’s also so easy to forget.

You my friend are responsible for how you feel, not your teen. If you’re losing your patience, that’s on you, not your teen. If you’re teen’s getting on your last nerve, that’s on you, not your teen. If you currently don’t trust your teen, maybe they’ve stolen money from you, maybe they’re sneaking around with their girl or boyfriend, or maybe their looking at porn, not matter what your teen is doing YOU are responsible for how you choose to think about them and feel towards them.

I’m not saying that you should just trust blindly, but you can choose to trust that your teen is getting exactly what they need from life, and you can trust that they, and everything, will turn out A-OKAY!

There are a few things that you can do to BE responsible for how you feel.

  1. Develop Emotional Intelligence
    • Step 1, Identify what you’re feeling. Might be anger, disappointment, frustration, fear, dislike, or some combination of multiple feelings.
    • Step 2, Identify why you’re feeling that feeling. It will always be a thought. It might be, “They should be more open with communication.” or maybe, “They shouldn’t be looking at porn.” or maybe even, “I can’t believe they would do that.”
    • Ultimately, you have the power to better understand what you’re feeling and why.
  2. Don’t identify as your feeling. Identify as someone who’s experiencing the feeling. Someone who can identify, observe, and explore the feeling, and even intentionally create your feelings. This will help give you power and acceptance over your emotions.
  3. STOP Blaming your teen! This is one of the most disempowering things you can do. You are not at the mercy of your teen. You are responsible for your feelings, not your teen.
    • Recently, I blamed my 8 year old for my frustration. It was about 10:00 pm and way past his bed time. He and his sister were fighting, and I was convinced that HE was to blame for my frustration. When I took responsibility, I realized that it had very little to do with him and everything to do with me. I was stressed about my upcoming live event. I was frustrated at the time that my new day job takes. I was unhappy about the lower numbers of podcast downloads. None of which had anything to do with him. I reminded myself, I’m anxious about the live event because I care so much. That’s a good thing. I might be frustrated about the time my job takes away from my business and family, but I’m really blessed and excited about the job. And, my podcast downloads always go down during summer. I’m okay with that because I want families out having fun, and that might give them less time to listen to my podcast.

You’re Attached to a Desired Outcome that’s Out of Your Control

If you’re like a lot of parent of teens, you might be falling into the trap of being emotionally attached to a specific desired outcome.

For example, I was recently talking with a mom who said that it’s killing her to watch her teen not use good communication skills, even with his friends. I asked how she feels about it and she explained that she felt disappointed, frustrated, and even embarrassed. All of these emotions are signaling that she has an attachment to how she thinks things should be with her teen.

The problem with these attachments is that they are a huge waste of energy. Think about it: you want your teen to behave a certain way, this is your mental focus. When your teen doesn’t behave that way, you feel disappointed, frustrated, and embarrassed. These emotions are energy inside of you, and these emotions keep you from BEing the mom that you want to be.

Instead, I want to invite you to FIRST, catch yourself being attached to the desired outcome (HINT: You’ll catch yourself feeling disappointed, frustrated, and embarrassed). SECOND, I want you to identify what are the things that you’re focusing on that are outside of your control (HINT: These will be thoughts like, “I can’t believe he did that.”) and THIRD, shift your attention to something within your control, (HINT: This will be something to do with YOU.)

The truth is, your attachment to your desired outcomes are holding you back and emotionally keeping you from BEing the parent of your dreams!

It’s Time to Set Better Boundaries

This can be tough. I get it. I need to have a free class for all parents to come learn how to set better boundaries.

For now focus on these few things when it comes to setting better boundaries.

#1, How can I empower my teen and get their input on this boundary?

For me I like to ask empowering questions like, “I understand you want to stay out extra late this weekend. What do you think would be a fair curfew?”

You want to let them do the thinking. If you don’t like their answer, simply say, “I see. That’s a pretty good idea, but I don’t think I can get behind that. How about this instead?” Then just go back and forth working together to come up with something that works best for you.

#2, Focus on building your connection with your teen to improve your boundaries with them.

#3, Experiment with your boundaries. You don’t have to do it “perfectly right” every time. Gain some experience through trial and error.

Step 1 – Go take the parent trap quiz!

It’s free, easy, and will take you less than 3 minutes.

Step 2 – Use your quiz results to focus your energy on growing in the area indicated by your quiz results.

Step 3- Come work with me to help you up level your parenting!

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