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Report Cards are Coming: 3 Choices Process to Help with Homework Challenges and Communication with Your Teen | The Family Alchemists

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Life is hard. Becoming a responsible young adult is one of the hardest stages of life. As parents, communicating that we are supportive and present to help can go a long way to co-create mutually beneficial solutions together and lay the foundation for happy relationships. Unfortunately, most of us didn’t grow up with consciously communicating parents.

We can know peace from meditation, our chakras can be aligned, or we can experience holy communion after prayer, but if we didn’t have good communication role models, we will have to learn how to communicate in the new parenting paradigm.

In my coaching practice, parents rank homework hassles and communication as the top two parental struggles with their school-age children and teens. In conscious parenting, we honor the autonomy of our children’s lives. Most parents applying the conscious parenting paradigm believe school performance is the responsibility of their children and the role of the parent is to support the growth of the child. Communicating about school grades may be particularly problematic because of the heightened emotions of both children and parents surrounding school performance.

I have the privilege of coaching parents of teens. I help parents and teens communicate heart to heart rather than defense mechanism to defense mechanism. When there is a struggle at school, I help parents communicate consciously with their teens.

One way to do this is to listen well and then ask your teen to share three possible solutions to the problem.

3 Choices Support Process Laura Lyles Reagan Teen and Parent Relationship Coach

I recently helped a parent talk to their teen who had a failing algebra grade. The teen was overwhelmed and seemed frustrated by it. The parent said something like this.

Parent: I see you frustrated about your algebra grade. Would you like some help in thinking about some actions you can take? I want to help you if you do.

We can think of three possible solutions and choose one.
Some teens may not think of solutions because they feel stuck, angry or conflicted. Other teens may not have the language skills to articulate possible solutions. You can pause the conversation here and ask to revisit it later and set up a time to do so. Or you can make a few suggestions and ask them to choose the one they want to try.

The conversation might continue like this:

Teen: (Shrugs shoulders) Ok, I guess I could study harder, but I don’t know what else.

Parent: I know you are frustrated and studying harder is one possible solution. But there are other options and I want to help you. Maybe you could talk to the teacher and ask if there is a study group or maybe we could get you a tutor.

By stating those additional options. The teen said generally they could study harder as the first solution and the parent offered two other solutions. The parent can summarize the options again.

Parent: Ok, we have three possible options, 1) study harder; 2) ask the teacher if he has a study group; 3) get a tutor. Which one do you want to choose?

Note that the parent has communicated lovingly from the support role while the teen has the full responsibility to act and “solve the problem.”

Here are a few tips for using the three-choices support process:

• Be sure not to over talk the solutions
• Thank them for their willingness to try this.
• Keep the communication flowing by reminding your teen that they may come up with a better solution later and you want to support them in following through.

In this conscious approach, parents and teens co-create solutions together. Co-creation is simply a mindset and skillset that engages teens and parents to be fully responsible in equitable relationship building, communicating and problem-solving. Communicating this way also gives teens a model for problem-solving and communicating later in college and in the world of work. That’s a win-win for the present and the future, turning homework hassles into what teens need to grow. Consciously practicing co-creation communication skills may even help us enjoy our teens more and develop the deep meaningful bonds we seek.

Looking for more ways to get the conversation flowing with your teen? Check out Surprising Teen Conversation Starters.

FREE: How To Finally Get Your Child To Listen And Act By Understanding Their Development And Getting The Best Behavior Out Of Them… Even In The Hour Before Bedtime. Yes, Really.

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