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Solutions Blog

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How can I use discipline with my teenager?

June 2009

Q: I have a teenager who participated in one of your classes. I have used some of the tools we learn at TCC and I want to know how I can use discipline in conjunction with I messages and Rain Checks.

A: You have asked the question that is every parent’s dilemma. How do I put the communication tools together with setting limits and consequences? I found that setting appropriate limits is the hardest part of parenting well. And that is because kids are constantly growing, changing, and every kid in the family is different. Additionally, kids almost always think that the set limits aren’t appropriate! So…..here’s where all those communication skills start to come in handy! You can start with some good listening practice with your teen. Find out what’s going on with them around the specific issue—is it curfew, hanging out with friends, getting a job, cleaning their room, etc. They have some opinion and thoughts about the matter; find out what they are thinking, wanting, needing. Then practice your best I Message; say how you feel, what the problem is for you and why it is a problem. Remember not to blame or accuse; and check your tone of voice–disapproving judgmentalism will undermine your goal.

Be prepared for some angry energy from your teen; be ready to take a Rain Check (or some cool down time) because you both may need it. Don’t get hooked by bad attitude from your teen (they know how to push your buttons!) You can agree to take time to cool down as well as think of possible options for both of you to get your needs met. Set a time to talk again after cooling off.

When you meet again, review the different viewpoints and ask what are ways to solve the build the problem and make things better for both of you. Brainstorm possibilities, pick one to try, and set a reasonable time to evaluate how it’s working.

This is also a good time to set consequences if needed. Let the youth come up with consequences first; often they are harder on themselves than you will be. Pick one that you mutually agree on.

Then eagerly await the opportunity to see how things go! Be positive in your outlook and expect the best from your teen! Indeed, things will not go as you hoped or expected. But this is learning process for everyone. Your teen is taking more responsibility; you are giving more responsibility. The outcome will instruct you both as to what the youth is ready to handle. Then it’s back to the negotiating table to move to the next stage of setting limits.

Again, this is hard work for both you and your teen. But it is time well spent as you watch your kids grow and mature into young adults.

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Colorado Recognizes the Importance of Conflict Resolution

June 2009

The Colorado House of Representatives joined Governor William Ritter, Jr. of Colorado in declaring the month of October 2009 Conflict Resolution Month. The resolution was presented by Representative Jerry Frangas in the House and 49 more individuals signed on as co-sponsors in the House. Senator Linda Newell initiated this resolution and is responsible for bringing it forward. This joint resolution acknowledges the significance of promoting principles of conflict resolution to individuals within communities in the state of Colorado. Furthermore, this joint resolution recognizes the efficacy of utilizing conflict resolution methods as tools to address conflicts individuals may face in their everyday lives.

The resolution aims to promote nonviolent alternatives to manage conflict, such as mediation, arbitration and facilitation. The field of conflict resolution has been growing since the 1980s and is gaining popularity and acceptance within professional, judicial and federal settings. The Federal government, the Supreme Court and many businesses have incorporated the use of facilitators and arbitrators in their spheres to peacefully manage and address conflicts that arise.

Conflict resolution methods are increasingly recognized as producing positive outcomes to conflicts. As a result, the month of October has been designated Conflict Resolution Month by both the Colorado Senate and the Colorado House of Representatives.

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