By Karen Ryce
What is the single most important goal to set to guarantee successful helping?
If you want to help your troubled teen, it’s got to start with you. You must be respectful first. Make respect your bottom line. Make respect your foundation. Decide that, starting now, you are determined to be completely respectful to your troubled teen.
Get help to do this from the Power of Respect. It simplifies your task of helping. It provides clear, built-in guidelines. Stay within them and you will achieve your goal. It empowers you.
One of the most powerful guidelines of the Power of Respect is this: what you do and say feels good to you AND to your troubled teen.
Respect is not hard or complicated. Most people have someone in their lives that they respect, or at least, treat respectfully. Think of that person. What would you do or say to them? What wouldn’t you do or say to them? Think of how you would like to be treated by your son or daughter. Then treat your troubled teen in the same way.
Once you have started by making your commitment to yourself, tell your troubled teen what you have decided to do: that you are working to have a respectful relationship with them and that you are going to start right away.
Tell them that you are hoping that they will help you with this goal. Tell them that you are going to apologize when you make the mistake of being less than respectful. This is a very powerful technique. It shocks your troubled teen into believing you and it speeds up the process. I’m sure you are not going to want to continue having to do this. No mistakes = no apologies.
Another helpful tool is having a ‘respect buddy,’ someone you can call and talk with, someone who can and will help you keep respectful. Be sure to tell your troubled teen about this, too, another piece of evidence that you are serious and determined.
Now that you have started, do not give up. When you make a mistake, you do something disrespectful, forgive yourself and keep on going. As you start seeing the positive results of your efforts, you will be empowered to continue until you have mastered this. Watch your troubled teen for those positive results, however small, and do not give up.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Ryce, the Miracle Worker of Education and Parenting, has used the Power of Respect for more than 35 years. She started a Montessori school in 1973, gives talks and workshops to parents and teachers.