The most important step to influence is taking care of ourselves first. When we are feeling good and resourceful, that is when we are able to facilitate our teenagers learning effectively. As soon as we are tired or emotionally charged we become less effective.

Our Teen’s friends have a big influence on them and as parents we often want them to see how they are being influenced. This affects our relationship with them and their performance and future.

So how do we influence them?

Open communication without judgement and expectation is the best way to influence them. When they feel safe to talk to you about their friends, it gives them an opportunity to think more deeply about their choices.

The trick to influence is asking a lot of questions. When the answers come from them, it is already their truth and we don’t have any convincing to do. So what questions?

  • What do you like about your friends?
  • How do they treat you?
  • What do you have in common?
  • What do you enjoy doing together and why?
  • After their social ask: How was it….really? Ask their bodies. i.e. Get them to feel it! Their feelings will tell them the truth and that is all you need. Building a frame of reference inside of them for what is true is our goal and we do this with each question.

Understanding their emotional needs that drive their choices also gives us the power to influence them.

What emotional needs are satisfied by friends?

  • A sense of belonging
  • A sense of acceptance
  • I am important

Sometimes, even if their friends are really not good for them, and they know it logically, meeting these 3 emotional needs will override their logical thinking. Our role as parents is to assist them in building their sense of self to be stronger than their need and to meet these needs at home. We do this by:

  • Truly listening
  • Encouraging them to express their opinions
  • Ask them what they want …often
  • Encourage them to focus on what they want
  • Acknowledging their feelings
  • Don’t judge
  • Let them decide
  • Be there to listen to their feedback, without judgement
  • Acknowledge how they feel
  • Ask lots of questions

Every day and every conversation counts!

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