This is the first of a three-part series on parenting teens with Calm Confidence. We start here with an explanation of what Calm Confidence is, why it is important, and how to model it when communicating with your teen. Next month we will talk about what to do when your teen will still not cooperate. And then, in the third part, I talk about how your teens can thrive at school through the use of Calm Confidence.
“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” ~ Peggy O’Mara
Unfortunately, not only does our voice become our kids’ inner voice, but it can also become their outer voice. This is reason number one to not only model calm confidence, but to teach our kids to be calm and confident as well.
I know, I know, this is an article about teens! And teens can be sarcastic, sassy, know-it-alls who roll their eyes, shake their heads, and die of embarrassment just because you asked them to put a jacket on before going out in front of their friends. And, yes, we need to put up with some of that as their parents. Pick your battles, right?
Why We Want to Model Calm Confidence for Our Teens
Here’s the most important question I have about this for you, though:
- Do you want your teens acting like that to other adults?
- With their teachers?
- Their friends’ parents?
- Their bosses, when they get jobs?
I’m hoping that your answer is “no.”
Another question we need to ask ourselves as parents of teens is: How do we want our kids to react to mean kids and bullies at school?
- Do we want them to show the mean kids that they are getting a reaction by being sassy and sarcastic?
- Do we want our kids to lower their eyes and cower?
- Do we want them to get into a verbal or physical altercation with the bully?
Again, I’m hoping your answer is “no” – even if the bully had it coming!
By exhibiting calm confidence, your teen will be able to interact even with teachers and bosses they don’t like in a way that is beneficial to your teen.
Calm Confidence Commands Respect!
By exhibiting calm confidence with mean kids and bullies, your teen will show that the bullying does not rattle them. Bullies want a reaction. By remaining calm and confident the mean kids are not getting the reaction they want. Plus, if your teen avoids punching the bully – no matter how much they deserve it – everyone involved will avoid the consequences of suspension from school (or even an assault charge).
What is Calm Confidence?
Calm confidence is a demeanor. It is assertive, but not aggressive. It is friendly, but not meek. A demeanor of being calm and confident says, “I believe in myself enough that I do not have to be arrogant or overbearing to make my point.”
Here is an example of how to model calm confidence with your teen:
Parent: Hey, hon, it’s your turn to mow the lawn and it definitely needs mowing today.
Teen: (With a slightly sarcastic tone and perhaps an eye roll) The lawn will still be there tomorrow, and I’m in the middle of something (video game).
Parent: (Preferably sitting down next to the teen or at least getting at eye level. AND, with a calm, but assertive tone.) I know it will be there tomorrow, but it needs to be done today. I understand that you are in the middle of a game. You may play for 30 minutes more, and then the lawn needs to be done. I also want you to note that when you talk to me in that tone, it hurts me because it is disrespectful.
NOTICE: The parent did not reprimand the teen for their tone. The parent used an “I” statement about their feelings. The teen may roll their eyes again at that, but I assure you teens are capable of taking it to heart when parents say that their feelings are hurt, rather than demanding respect.
Also notice, that the parent did not demand the teen mow the lawn that minute. The parent gave the teen the grace to continue playing for a limited time.
Modeling behavior for our kids does work! It may take time, though.
Next month we will talk about further steps to take, such as using logical consequences to help bring about the cooperation we need from our teens. We don’t need to yell and threaten. Communicating with calm confidence and using logical consequences will bring about cooperation and respect.
How has Calm Confidence worked for your family? Share with the community by leaving a comment below!
You’ve Got This Mama!