Want Teens To Listen and Cooperate?Parenting Teens: Myths and Debunking

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For those who live in San Francisco Bay area the book signing event will be on September 9, 2017 in Mission College in Santa Clare, CA. Here is the link for more details https://www.eventbrite.com/e/aiwa-sf-parenting-workshop-tickets-33743748460?aff=efbevent

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Many parents struggle to find applicable tips to communicate effectively with their child. While there are several books, blogs and articles on parenting tips, it is still a challenge to find a quick, relatable and relative guide that offers real solutions.  For the first time, parents are raising children in a world of constant technology.  From TV’s to tablets, iPads to iPhones there is a contact temptation to get consumed in a world of instant gratification and connectivity.  Deep anxiety about the disconnectedness of smartphone-generation plagues many parents. Parents are struggling to keep their teens safe from the pervasive effects of today’s threats. Often, parents and caretakers lack the skills to effectively communicate with this generation.

There are several myths about parenting teens and teen behavior. Here are seven common myths that need to be debunked.

Myth: Teens are inexperienced adults.

Debunking: A teen’s rational thinking usually requires additional time for development in order for it to function as adult’s brain does. The brain’s prefrontal lobe is responsible for rational thinking and reasoning. In teens, this part of the brain that helps them imagine the consequences of their actions will be fully functional only around 25 years old. For some teens, it is even later, up to 30 years old. Before that, their actions are mostly governed by emotions.

Myth: Hormones surging through a teen’s body cause “teen behavior” to be impulsive and emotional.

Debunking: Teens don’t have higher hormone levels than adults; they simply react differently to hormones. The hormones do not cause the emotions. Emotions are stimulated by everyday reasons and teens are not only less experienced than adults in handling them but also because the state of their brain development. People say that teens are tall toddlers: they need to learn how to handle those mental, emotional and physical changes that happen in their body starting from puberty.

Myth: Our teens behave the same as we did when we were teens.

Debunking: That is not the case anymore. This Smartphone generation  is different in many ways. Studies focusing on long-term effects still need to accumulate data but there are things that we know for certain. Their rational brain is doubly high-jacked: first by the natural delay of its development (in comparison to the limbic/emotional brain) and secondly by the information overload. That information overload makes teens process information even slower than adults do because their brain does not have enough connections between its different parts for electrical impulses to pass fast.

Myth: If teens and parents simply get through and survive the teen era, everything will be OK.

Debunking: Not necessarily. Not all teens will come back and reconnect with their parents after growing up. There are many lonely seniors whose children do not want to talk to them. They didn’t get along during the teen years and those conflicts were never resolved. It doesn’t just magically happen.

Myth: You cannot do anything about teen behavior because it is the way it supposed to be.

Debunking: You can! There are simple behavior modification techniques that work fast and irresistibly. With them, you can learn how to grab and keep a teen’s attention and convey guidance and instructions in a way that they listen and cooperate to stay safe and healthy. 

 

Myth: I can do it myself.

Debunking: Parents tend to be embarrassed that they have trouble with their teens and are often reluctant to reach out for help. They think their child’s behavior is a phase that will pass, or they think they should automatically know what to do. No one knows yet how to deal effectively with the smartphone generation without some help. You can do it alone, but it will take more time. Do we have enough time before they leave the nest? It’s a lot easier with an expert help.

Myth: Parenting teens are nerve-wracking and tiring. It can’t possibly be fun.

Debunking: It can be a lot of fun! Once you know what is happening with your teens in general and in this age of information overload as well as how to handle your teen and your own emotions, parenting your teen really can be a fun adventure. Behavior modification techniques can make all the difference and make it fast.

Viktoria, a mother of three, struggled to stay connected when her “Smartphone Generation” daughter hit her teens. She was asking herself,” IS THERE A SHORTCUT TO MY TEEN’S EMOTIONAL BRAIN? She wanted a simple formula will get her teen to listen and cooperate, almost instantly and without resistance?

Out of necessity to keep her daughter safe and make the right friend choices, Viktoria researched different behavior modification disciplines and developed a scientifically proven System to reconnect with her daughter, shift her behavior, and empower her to make the right choices.

In her book ‘Want Your Teen To Listen?” Viktoria presents you a unique and simple, but powerful science-based FORMULA. This shortcut brought peace and laughter back into her family and will do the same for yours.

Instead of hard-to-remember long lists of Do’s and Don’ts, you get a FORMULA that helps you:

  • Avoid three major parenting mistakes of the information overload era
  • Irresistibly catch your teen’s attention and KEEP it
  • Guard your teen against mistakes and guide them towards solutions and more choices
  • See immediate results, and have your teen listen and cooperate any time you speak

The book gives you a great BONUS: You will remember to use the formula every time you speak with your teen. Remembering to use knowledge and making it your automatic habit is what makes any knowledge powerful.

The FORMULA in this succinct book is universal – it makes any parenting style work more effectively and efficiently in any situation. Moreover, you can use it with everybody to get resistance-free cooperation! Parents and clients have said that it works miraculously!

Here are an excerpt and an extract from the book.

“According to my observations, when asked what they want, 94-96% of people easily answer what they do not want, but it takes much more effort to formulate what they do want. How do we talk to our teens? Do we ask them to do what we want or do we direct them somewhere else?

Have you ever heard yourself saying, “Do not forget your keys!” Maybe when talking to your teen, you have even turned that command into a question: “Could you please not forget your keys?” Using the information from the previous chapters on questions and focus of attention, you now know that you have sent your teen’s focus to something you do not want, haven’t you?

“Do not forget…” is such a common phrase, heard often, especially when parents give instructions and advice. I questioned why “Do not forget” works so poorly, and then I discovered that there is no picture for negatives like “no” or “not”.

Everything fell into place. For me, this was another ‘AHA’ moment! I knew that negation influences our behavior and had used this tool for several years, but had not realized its deep impact until I learned that we think with images.

Let’s explore how negation and negative words can dramatically either negate (ironic, isn’t it?) your communication results or improve them. My inquiry was: “Can we use negation to create a negative or positive experience to direct a teen’s attention, state, and behavior?”

My finding? We certainly can. There are two ways we can use it: to avoid traps of negation and in a smart way to add choices. Both approaches aim to increase the results of our communication by obtaining the responses we want.

What are the traps of negation?

The way we talk has become outdated because of the complete changes in our information environment that have occurred over the past 20 years. Our conversations usually have a lot of idioms, metaphors, sarcasm, humor, negation, and even double negation. Yet we hope that we are understood in the way we want to be comprehended.

Most of us, parents, teachers, and managers included, are trapped in these miscommunication patterns, especially when giving instructions or guidance. These patterns, however, are totally outdated for today’s fast‐paced environment. When we lack the time to process sophisticated language, our brains react to information literally. Sophisticated language has its place, but not when giving instructions or communicating for fast results under time pressure. I know that when you train animals, dogs especially, that you are taught to give succinct instructions for what you want the animal to do: sit, stay, heel, and then leave it at that. Would this work with people? Why don’t we use negation with animals?

I heard this metaphor about how our brains process negation and appreciated its teaching power!

If you hailed a taxi and instructed the taxi driver, “DO NOT take me to the airport,” where do you think you would end up? Where would the driver take you? You would expect the driver to take you anywhere else except the airport, right? However, you would most probably end up exactly where you did not want to go – to the airport.[1]

I was curious why our minds work this way. I would like to remind you that most of us think with pictures/images and there are NO pictures for negation, negative words and some words with negative prefixes and suffixes. These words exist in language, but not in how our brains make sense of the world.[2] Our brains need time to process the concept of negation, sometimes managing to grasp it, and often a bit late when the wrong action has already been taken.”

……..

“Think about when your teen was small, maybe you said, “Don’t spill the milk!” What kind of image came to her mind? Correct, she would see an image of spilling the milk, and her mind would send those signals to her hands and most probably she would drop the cup. She would have already spilled it when the mind would just start to understand the negation. Our brain processes negation more slowly than it makes pictures in our mind, and usually after the body has already reacted accordingly.[3]

Now think about more critical situations. Imagine a scene in a movie or TV show in which a person is poised on the ledge of a building about to plunge to his death, and the negotiator says, “Don’t jump.” I cringe every time! The person on the ledge is at the peak of his emotion. In this situation, negotiators should be very careful what they say because words create images which bring action.

Knowing what you now know about negation, don’t you think that the only image the negotiator has created for the suicidal person with “Don’t jump” is of jumping? In a matter of seconds, the suicidal person’s literal brain has received its destination and is sending signals to his limbs to execute the action – and all this most probably before the rational mind could process the information to understand that it was, in fact, the opposite suggestion. Do you see from this example how there can be consequences to the way in which we use negation? “

Here what parents are saying about the book…

One of the best pieces of advice on parenting that I have ever received.

– Cathy, Mother of two teens, Scarsdale, NY

Full of practical advice, powerful techniques, and real-life examples that can help you connect with your teen as it did for me with my 17-year-old son.

– Jennet Appova, UN Officer, NY, NY

Viktoria’s strategies for helping me guide my son to make good decisions have been invaluable. Instead of arguing, we now envision good outcomes that work for us both.

– Julie Scott, Nutritionist, Attorney, Palo Alto, CA 

The beauty of the book’s approach is its astonishing simplicity and the ease of applying the suggestions. With this book’s help, I repaired the broken communication with my teen.  I’m so happy!

Gayane Hovakimian, Professor, NY, NY

About Viktoria Ter-Nikoghosyan:

Viktoria Ter-Nikoghosyan, Ph.D. is an acclaimed International Personal and Professional Development Consultant and Coach. For the last 12 years, she has helped hundreds of parents in 23 countries to reconnect with their teens and get their full cooperation. She is the mother of three happy and successful children: two adults and one teen.

For those who live in San Francisco Bay area the book signing event will be on September 9, 2017 in Mission College in Santa Clare, CA. Here is the link for more details https://www.eventbrite.com/e/aiwa-sf-parenting-workshop-tickets-33743748460?aff=efbevent

You can buy the print or Kindle book on amazon https:/www.amazon.com/Want-Your-Teen-Listen-Irresistible/dp/1543162401 and Barnes & Nobel https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/want-your-teen-to-listen-viktoria-ter-nikoghosyan-phd/1126000934?ean=9781543162400

[1] Daniel M. Wegner and David J. Schneider ‘The White Bear Story’, Psychological Inquiry, Volume 14, Number:3/4, p. 326–329, 2003: Daniel Wegner’s Ironic Process Theory or white bear problem refers to the process, wherein deliberately trying to suppress certain thoughts makes them more likely to come to mind.

[1] Garner Thomson and Dr. Khalid Khan, Magic in Practice: Introducing Medical NLP: the art and science of language in healing and health, Hammersmith Books, Ltd., 2015.

[1] Uri Hasson and Sam Glucksberg, ‘Does understanding negation entail affirmation?: An examination of negated metaphors’, Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 38, Issue 7, July 2006.

[1] Daniel M. Wegner and David J. Schneider ‘The White Bear Story’, Psychological Inquiry, Volume 14, Number:3/4, p. 326–329, 2003: Daniel Wegner’s Ironic Process Theory or white bear problem refers to the process, wherein deliberately trying to suppress certain thoughts makes them more likely to come to mind.

[2] Garner Thomson and Dr. Khalid Khan, Magic in Practice: Introducing Medical NLP: the art and science of language in healing and health, Hammersmith Books, Ltd., 2015.

[3] Uri Hasson and Sam Glucksberg, ‘Does understanding negation entail affirmation?: An examination of negated metaphors’, Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 38, Issue 7, July 2006.

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