Your Relationship Is On YOU
So, here’s both the good and the bad news. Your relationship with your teen is 100% up to you.
“. . . But . . . but . . . what?”
I know. Sounds a little confusing, right? Well, your teen could accidentally light his school bus on fire, and your relationship with him is still 100% in your court. You get to choose how you want to feel, how you want to react, basically everything including how you do you and your relationship with him. Seriously, it’s is ALL YOU!
Yes this is hard; BUT, it is so important.
You are in the driver’s seat. So, take the wheel.
How To Build Relationships
Step 1. Define Your Relationship
This one is hard, and it will take a little trial and error and a lot of fine tuning. But, it’s important to define your relationship so you have an idea of what the big picture looks like.
So, ask yourself, “During the best case scenario, what do I want my relationship to look like?” Also ask, “During the worst case scenario, what do I want my relationship to look like?” Think about it in the frame of a movie or book or something. What would your relationship look like?
When I was a high school principal, I often thought to myself, “If this were part of an inspirational movie, how would I want it to look?” I knew that when I had to suspend a kid for something, I wanted to react in a way that I would be proud of and that might motivate and inspire those involved. Imagining this as a scene from a movie helped me.
It might also help to ask yourself, “What type of a relationship does my teen need?”
Sometimes they need a friend, example, disciplinarian, or an advocate. Explore this.
Step 2. Identify Your Guiding Values
Your values might look different than mine, or you just might copy mine. Either way is fine, just make sure that you know what your guiding values are, and let them actually guide you.
Here’s a brief example of some of my guiding values:
- I am an advocate for ALL teenagers, especially knuckleheads.
- I want my teenagers to know that I KNOW them, LOVE them, and RESPECT them.
- I want to help my teens be their best.
- I’m a teacher. One of my responsibilities is to teach my teens skills that they need to be successful, even when they don’t want to be taught, Not Sorry.
Step 3. Practice, Practice, Practice
This is truly and ongoing process. Everyday will be different. Everyday will give you more experience. Use everyday to practice.
Practice being very intentional and perfect when things are easy, and when things get hard practice falling back on and implementing what you’ve practiced.
Step 4. Commit, Every Day, To Your Relationship
Commit. Some days will be harder than others. Commit to your relationship early. This commitment will increase your level of awareness when it comes to your relationship. You will know exactly what you want your relationship to be, because you’ve already committed to it.
You’ve got this!