Q: My intelligent and high achieving 15 yr old keeps calling my husband stupid when my husband asks him questions or requests something the 15 yr old doesn’t like- how do I change this behavior?

A: This is a problem whether he is speaking to your husband or anyone. We would start off with a discussion about the standard of being nice to all people. Remind him that life is a mirror and his behavior will come back to him. This will probably take several discussions and reminders. Eventually he will begin to understand and respond positively. Correct him each time this happens and model kindness and patience for him. 

Q: I don’t really understand how the course works with the calls?

A: The Wednesday night calls correspond to the course work from the previous Saturday. We do coaching and Q & A. We encourage the group to add their wisdom to the discussion and so far we have loved the ideas and resources shared by everyone. 

To join the group call click on the Zoom link each Wednesday at 8 PM MST.  Recordings of the calls are posted with the coursework within 48 hours.

Q: 1. Are there any routines or practices that you use to improve open communication with your kids? Any tips to improve the chances that they will feel comfortable talking? Also, do you make it a point to ask them specifically about certain topics such as dating or school? Or do you just give them time to talk about anything? Or both? 2. Michelle, you mentioned going through a process to help reduce anger and yelling. Will you please explain more of the steps that helped you? 3. In what ways do you discipline (teach and help), when your kids are not listening and respecting the boundaries that you have established? If there is a specific principle your family adheres to but a child refuses to comply or accept help, any direction on where to go from there?

A: Setting up times to listen and communicate is key. Dinner time, driving time, bedtime, playing pool or chess are all conducive to communication. Asking kids about problems in your own life will help them open up. Tell them stories from your day. Ask what they think about current events that might relate to your child’s issues or interests. Yes, we talk about school and dating regularly. We help them understand expectations and standards and why we have them and set them. 

The key to stopping anger and yelling is noticing the urge and letting the anger wash over you like a wave. I like to remain quiet until the wave has passed and then respond to the situation. We always have the decision how to react. Yelling is actually a way of buffering and the strategy to break any habit also applies to yelling. 

Most discipline is done through discussion. If the behavior involves an object of any kind (phone, video games, access to TV, etc.) the object is taken away. Sometimes teens don’t follow a standard because they don’t fully understand it. Other times they just don’t want to follow it. Some behaviors take years to change because the bad behavior is a habit. Patient persistence pays off. Be a good example of the standard you want your children to keep.

Q: I have a question about sleepovers. I am hoping that you and others can share their input. The rule in our house has been no sleepovers. How can I explain why I believe this is a good family rule without dragging worry and lack of trust (not just my child) into the equation? In reality, besides lack of sleep, these are my reasons 😉 I think this is similar to having screens in bedrooms. You mentioned this is a rule in your home, so I am curious how you address it. Thanks! 

A: You have good reasons for wanting to establish this rule in your family. Explain the reasons to your children to your children and be very matter of fact about it. One mother we know who won’t allow her children to play at homes where there are guns or violent video games. She is very upfront and non-judgmental about the families who do have these things in their home but she won’t allow her children to play there. You have the right to set standards to protect your children even if the standard is just to protect them from a super grumpy day from not getting enough sleep. 

Q: Is the Facebook group up and running yet? Thanks

A: Yes, we hope to get more conversations going! If you haven’t been invited please send an email to hello@buildyourteenager.com.

Q: If I mark a unit as complete will i still have access to view it later?

A: Yes, you can go back and listen to the lessons as many times as you like and whenever you want.

Q: How do you find the line between allowing your child to “discuss” things they may not agree with and your kids arguing with you about things you decide on??

A: There should be two way discussion on any topic or decision that affects your teen. Once an informed decision has been made parents should feel confident about being resolved in the decision. Some teens just like to test your resolve. Sometimes the testing becomes a joke they think is funny. Laugh with them. 

Q: I’m just wondering where we can go to watch the replay of the Q&A coaching call each week. 

A: We’re so glad you want to listen to the coaching calls! They can be found in the class section within 48 hours (usually much less) of the call. Thanks!

Q: How to motivate a very laid back child?

A: To a certain extent we let children be themselves, even if that means being very unambitious. We also have minimum standards: fitness, classes they take in school, summer jobs, service, church attendance. Some of our children are not as motivated but they may be just as successful in life as the overachievers. Also, kids go through phases. Sometimes they just need more sleep and downtime. Other times they will find tremendous motivation from places you don’t expect.