Ep. 55: Build Resilience & Capability in Teens

Ep. 55: Build Resilience & Capability in Teens

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Episode Summary

Author Katherine Lewis speaks with Andy about why kids lack resilience and capability more than ever. By rescuing kids from every micro stressor they may encounter, parents are doing more harm than good – and when it comes to behavior, we want the good stuff! 

Full Show Notes

There are teens out there that have NO idea how to do the laundry, cook a meal, manage their time, pay bills–the list goes on. And that’s not even mentioning the poor behavior and attitude they throw at their parents and other adults. It’s frustrating to say the least! When will they “grow up”?? When will they listen?

Katherine Lewis wondered the same thing after a run in with some rowdy boys on a playground. They were throwing a ball around without any regard to the littler kids nearby. When she asked them to stop, she says they looked at her…and then carried on exactly what they were doing. She was shocked. 

Katherine came to the conclusion that the way we are told to raise kids and teens has had detrimental effects on how they turn out. 

After more than a year researching current trends for her book The Good News About Bad Behavior, Katherine had some answers. 

One thing that stood out to Katherine in her research was that all the “saving” parents have been told to do is actually working against our kids. Rather than rescue our teens from stressful situations, the science shows that kids who muster through conflict and minor trauma, come out more resilient on the other side. Katherine believes it’s no coincidence that behavioral and mental disorders are at epidemic levels: we haven’t given our kids the opportunity to manage their minor stressors on their own! And so all the small things become overwhelming. Maybe to the point that a teen might give up on trying to balance it all (eating, sleeping, doing laundry, getting good grades, cleaning, etc) in favor of doing nothing. 

The Apprenticeship Model that Katherine teaches in her coaching sessions helps parents to shift their mindset and  parenting practices toward helping their kids acquire skills and knowledge necessary for them to become happy, healthy, contributing adults. 

Let teens fail and mess up when they’re young, Katherine argues. That’s a teen’s job!

In addition to walking going through Katherine’s Apprenticeship Model for parenting, you will discover:

  • Why minor traumas are good for your teen
  • How to impose logical consequences when natural consequences aren’t an option
  • The problem with Perceived Criticism
  • Why teens should do homework on a timer
  • How to draw out a reluctant teen

The 33-minute public version is free to listen to, and the 53-minute extended version, packed with extra goodies, is reserved for site members. Log in or start a free trial to access everything our site has to offer!

Parenting Scripts

Word-for-word examples of WHAT to say to your teen

1.  How to give start your relationship on a new path:

“You know what, I have to apologize because, for the first 15 years of your life, I thought I was in charge of making you be a certain way. And I thought if I just planned your life perfectly that everything would turn out great and you would be thankful. And I [read this book, listened to this podcast, saw an article] that told me I’m actually really wrong and I’m not in charge of you. You’re actually supposed to be gaining more and more control of your own life. So I’m asking can we reset? Can we go back to the basics of our relationship, have some time together, and can I start to teach you the things you’re going to need in three years when you go off to college? And where would you like to start?”

-Katherine Lewis

2.  Before you give your teen feedback start with:

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3.  Instead of “no” you can use a “when-then” statement:

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4.  When you need to talk about a difficult/sensitive subject, and your teen keeps putting it off:

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5.  When you ask what’s going on and your teen resists with the classic “I dunno” + shrug:

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Workbook Exercises

Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview

1. Your Future Teen:

A great technique Katherine uses in her own coaching practice includes sitting down a parent to have them make two lists. One on what they want their teen to be doing now and the other how they want their teen to look at 18. There’s often a pretty big discrepancy in the two lists!!

For this exercise, grab a piece of paper & pen, or open up the notes app in your phone. Create two columns. One will be “Things I want my teen to be doing in the next 4 months.” The second column should be title “How I want my teen to be at 18.”

Once you exhaust the space you have, take a look at the lists. Do the things you want your kid to be doing in four months match up with how you want them to be at 18? What things from the first column could you alter to be more in line with how you want your teen to be at 18? 

For example if you want your teen to be “self-sufficient” at 18, maybe it’s time to have a discussion on how you can help your teen acquire new skills.    

2.  Family Gratitude Session:

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3.  Observation Week:

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About Katherine Lewis

In addition to being an author, Katherine Lewis is a journalist for The Atlantic, Fortune magazine, Parents, USA Today’s magazine group, the Washington Post, and Working Mother magazine. She teaches parents through the Parent Encouragement Program in Kensington, MD.

Want More Katherine Lewis?

You can find Katherine through her website as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.