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How to Influence Your Teen, Part 1


Once we know that teenagers are rarely expected to take clearly undiscerning stances on things, there are strategies for us to change a youth children though endangering their need to individuate. This post is formed on a conversation that we had with Ron Dahl about lifting teenagers, as good as some of Dahl’s created work.

I asked Dahl what he does with his children when he wants to change them.

His answer? He uses techniques from a clinical process called “motivational interviewing.” Motivational interviewing has proven effective in motivating function change in teenagers in formidable arenas, like drug and ethanol abuse, jumbled eating, and unsure passionate behavior. Dahl’s recommendation was to learn to use it as a primogenitor for a some-more paltry areas where we’d like to see expansion in a children, so that if we need it for a bigger problem we know what we are doing. Here are 5 motivational interviewing techniques that diminution kids’ insurgency to a influence:

(1) Express empathy. Kids and teenagers are many some-more expected to listen to us if they feel understood. Resist a titillate to give recommendation or to “finger-wag”—two things that tend to emanate defensiveness and insurgency to a good ideas. Instead, simulate behind to adolescents theirposition on things.

(2) Ask open-ended questions to know their position. We wish to inspire a teenagers to share with us their innermost motivations. To do this, we can word a questions non-judgmentally in ways that will prompt a youth to elaborate. Even if we are giving kids a choice about what to speak about (“Do we wish to speak about what it is like when we remove your rage during school, or do we wish to speak about what creates it formidable for we to eat a healthy lunch?”) Dahl recommends that we always also throw in a super-open-ended doubt like, “…or maybe there is something else we would rather discuss? What do we think?”

(3) Reflect what they are saying, not what we wish they were saying. This can be a elementary restatement:

Adolescent: You contend that we have to do all these things to make a team, though we consider I’ll make a group even if we don’t burst by those hoops.
Parent: You’re not certain all this work is necessary.

Or, we can simulate what they meant though use opposite words:

Adolescent: I’m not an alcoholic!
Parent: That tag unequivocally doesn’t fit you.

Or, try reflecting what they are feeling:

Adolescent: I’m not an alcoholic!
Parent: It unequivocally creates we indignant when we consider we are being labeled in that way.

Finally, try amplifying or exaggerating—without sarcasm!—what they are saying if the youth clearly expresses some ambivalence about their insurgency to your influence:

Adolescent: I’m unequivocally not certain that we need assistance or diagnosis to understanding with this.
Parent: Your life is unequivocally excellent right now, usually a approach it is.

(4) Show them their inconsistencies—gently. One thing that we can simulate behind to a teens, regulating a above strategies, are their opposing motivations—the inconsistencies between what they contend their goals or beliefs are, and their stream behavior.

What to say, then, to that teen who wants to join a garage band, though has not been practicing frequently or training a music? First, ask her accede to tell her what we see.

If she says she’s peaceful to listen to your perspective, kindly indicate out a inequality between what she says she wants and what she’s doing to make that occur in a non-judgemental, significant way: “You unequivocally wish to join Jack’s band, though before they’ll let we audition, we need to learn all a songs on their playlist. You haven’t started training those songs yet. It seems like a play is holding adult a lot of a time that we competence spend practicing, and that when we get home from play practice, we usually wish to chill out in your room instead of practicing some-more or starting your homework.”

(5) Support their liberty and stress their personal choice and control. Teens are many expected to change when they commend a problem themselves, and when they are confident about their ability to solve a problem. We can assistance by expressing a certainty in their abilities, and by emphasizing that we can’t change them—that a choice about either or not to change is a adolescent’s alone. Dahl recommends observant something like this: “Whether or not we make any changes in your activities or your function is wholly adult to you. we really would not wish we to feel pressured to do anything opposite your will.”

All of these techniques take practice. (At slightest for me. The usually thing that seems to come naturally to me is bossiness.) Stay tuned for 5 some-more tips subsequent week!

I drew heavily on this section for this posting:
Gold, Melanie A. and Ronald E. Dahl, “Using Motivational Interviewing to Facilitate Healthier Sleep-Related Behaviors in Adolescents.” In Behavioral Treatments for Sleep Disorders. Edited by Michael Perlis, Mark Aolia, and Brett Kuhn, Amsterdam: Academic Press, 2011, Chapter 38, pp. 367-380.

© 2013 Christine Carter, Ph.D.

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