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On the last track, we discussed the three key steps involved in writing an effective Family Agreement Contract. These steps included: streamlining the problems; creating concrete rules; and creating a well-written consequence.
I often asked my client Shirley if she ever felt that her daughter Kelly won more arguments. Shirley stated, "I don't know how she does it, but somehow she always seems to be able to get me to lose my temper. No matter how much I tell myself 'Don't fall for it', this girl will almost always be able to push the right buttons. Once I explode, I already know I've lost the argument." One communication skill that most parents of oppositional defiant teens look over is the skill to stay calm.
On this track, we will examine ways to help parents like Shirley Keep Their Cool. Keeping Cool involves: discovering parental triggers; discovering teen triggers; and busting the trigger.
3 Ways to Keep Your Cool
#1. Discovering Parental Triggers
1. "You never let me do anything!"
2. "You don't love me!"
3. "I hate you/this family!"
4. Swearing or verbal abuse.
5. A disgusted look, improper gesture, or whiny voice.
After reading over the list, Shirley noted that another one of her triggers was lying. Shirley stated, "When she doesn't want to hear me talk anymore, she lies to my face. I know she's lying, but it doesn't feel like there's anything I can do about it." Think of your Shirley. Does he or she have more than one trigger? Would listening to this track in a session be beneficial?
#2. Discovering Teen Triggers
1. Preaching and using clichés
5. Instant problem-solving
6. Questioning your teen's resistance and discontent
7. Not tolerating experimental behavior
8. Collecting criticism
Lauren and Jake, parents of Trevor age 16, were constant lecturers. Trevor stated, "They always say the same thing, I'm lazy; I'll never amount to anything; I'm flushing my life down the toilet. I'm actually starting to believe it. Once they start in on that shit, I get real pissed. I mean, who are they to tell me that I'm lazy?"
#3. Busting the Trigger
I told Shirley, "Whenever you think to yourself, 'why is she doing this to me?' you are taking trigger pulling as a personal attack. In fact, Kelly may actually respect you, but because you can't see beyond her trigger pulling, you are hurting your mother-daughter communication when you escalate an argument into shouting. By not taking anything Kelly says out of anger personally, you will better be able to understand the ways in which she is just trying to win her own piece of confidence."
On this track, we discussed ways to help parents Keep Their Cool. Keeping Cool involved: discovering parental triggers; discovering teen triggers; and busting the trigger.
On the next track, we will present strategies that can help parents get their teens to stop alcohol abuse. These strategies are: Determining Frequency; Family Meeting; and The Alcohol Talk.
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