Styles of Parenting – Is it ever too late to change your parenting style?

Does Parenting Education (Classes, Coaching, Love and Logic, etc…) Help Parents of Teenagers?

I had a client who was a mother of a rebellious teenager. The mother’s words were “he does not respect me.” Mom was concerned that it was too late for her relationship with her son and that Love and Logic® strategies were only for young children. Well, here is her story:

This wonderful mom struggled with having a life of her own. After being divorced for 5 years, she had met a nice man and wanted to introduce him to her son. But this, as with everything else was a power struggle. The son made it clear that if she brought this man into their home it would completely devastate him and end their relationship once and for all.

Well, we worked for two sessions learning about the Love and Logic® tools of:


Consequences, specially removing the parent

Enforceable statements

Then I got a great report:

“I did what we talked about; I offered a lot of choices about if my son wanted to be at home when my friend came over and also choices about everything else. I love sharing control with him; he really seems to like it too. He does say I am weird asking all those questions.

I also used the a ton too, like ‘I will be happy to bring you to soccer when the dishwasher is emptied.’

Then the day eventually came when my friend came over to help me clean the garage. I gave my son a choice about if he wanted to be at home or not, he chose to be gone. I drove him to his friend’s house. Later, he called and asked if he could come home and watch the football game and I said sure. My friend and I are cleaning the garage, your decision if you want to say hello or not, we will be in the garage.’ Much to my surprise he came into the garage and introduced himself to my friend. Later that night I thanked him for being so polite to my friend and he said a profound statement, ‘I just needed it to be on my terms.’”

Wow, this is the essence of the Love and Logic tools! This kid thought all the limits his mom gave him over the past two weeks were on his terms. The verdict: Choices and Enforceable Statements are golden for teenagers!

Related Post: Parenting Styles – What are they?

Related Post: Disrespect – How do you Handle it?

Parent Coaching Services, Learn More

Responding to Disrespect from your Child

I had a parent email me this week with this situation:

“We have run into something knew with our 5 year old.  Lately when we ask her to do something, she replies with something like  “I will not” or “I never will.”  Usually she is kidding. She will say it with a smile on her face. Then, the other day I was making pancakes and she came up to the island where I had the hot griddle.  I asked her to move down a bit because I had just turned it on, and she replied, “I will never.”  She said this with a normal toned voice.  “I will not” and “I never will” I just plain old don’t like it.  I think it is very disrespectful!!  HELP!!!”

Use these tools when kids show disrespect in the order they are listed below. We’re starting with the relationship or control-giving tool first:

1. Ownership of the Problem:

Step 1: “Honey I need to talk to you about the new phrases you are using, it is a bit of a bummer but those phrases make me feel disrespected.”

Step 2: “What do you think you can do about not using them?”

Step 3: “Do you want some ideas of breaking this disrespectful habit?” Then brainstorm ideas of how to break the habit.

Step 4: Allow the child to solve the problem or not solve it. If they choose not to solve it, then its time to use consequences.

2. Consequence options:

Remove Yourself.

This should be your first option, because it is generally the easiest. When she uses either of those phrases, pair it with an Enforceable Statement: “Bummer, I only hear respectful words” Remove yourself and be sure to stay in empathy mode.

Energy Drain.

Whenever you hear those words, you say, “Energy Drain, oh those words drain my energy.” If she uses the phrase with a sibling, give them permission to use Energy Drain (if they are old enough to have their energy put back in them). Remember, energy is refilled via the parent not doing something for the child (reading a story book, going to the park, etc…) or having the child do chores FOR the parent. Siblings can do one-another’s chores.

Linked here, are handouts for ownership of the problem and Energy Drain.

The key to changing the bad habit is to NOT give negative attention to the inappropriate behavior, so again you have to use empathy and calmness. By handing the problem back to the child, you are sending the power message that this is their issue not yours. I always like to start with handing the child the problem; it is always a win-win for everyone. But no matter what, consequences (experiences) teach.