Ep 28: Connect then Redirect
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Todd Cartmell, author of 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids, explains how to get a strong bond with a teenager and then use this as a home base to redirect them to a better way. He says you need to start by fixing your relationship with the teen, then their behavior will follow.
Full Show Notes
Todd Cartmell is an expert in dealing with difficult teenagers. In his psychology practice he often gets brought in to handle the really difficult teens and kids.
So it makes sense that the interview really focused on how to get control of a difficult teenager. But what surprised me a bit was a quote Todd Cartmell revealed early on during the interview. It was from John Maxwell originally: “You’ve got to connect before you can redirect.”
And I realized after the interview that this quote is exactly what we did during the episode. Todd Cartmell showed me how to first connect with a difficult teen or child and then how to redirect their difficult behavior systematically.
It’s a brilliant approach and Todd Cartmell speaks with so much wisdom and authority on the subject since he has dealt with so many difficult kids in his therapy practice every day and has written FIVE BOOKS on parenting.
His latest book, 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids, is really superb.
In this episode he goes into extreme detail, revealing additional specifics and strategies not found in the book. Todd Cartmell explains the in’s and out’s of his exceptional method for handling difficult teenagers and children of all ages during this episode.
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Word-for-word examples of WHAT to say to your teen
1. Give teens specific verbal rewards when they do things you like
“Hey, dude, I just asked you to turn off the TV and you did it right on the first time and I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate that.”
2. How to start a regular weekly family time with a teenager:
Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview
1. Use the “Pour it On” Technique:
What do you want your teen to start doing more of? Listening to you? Being respectful? Being patient? Being honest? Todd says you need to think like a Sea World trainer, so you don’t want to try changing a ton of things all at once. Focus on one or two behaviors you want increase in your teen. Note, if you want your teen to stop doing something, you need to phrase it in reverse. For instance, “stop lying” becomes “be more honest”. This is needs to be phrased in the positive. Write this on a piece of paper. Next, think back to the past three days and list all of the times your teen has done what you want. Even if it’s really basic, that’s OK. Come up with as many examples as you can. If you want them to study more, think about whether there was any time they spent studying at all the past few days, even a little, or doing something for school or even just talking about something they learned in school. Write down all the examples you can think of. Circle the one that seems like the best example of the exact behavior you want to see more of. Talk to your teen today and praise them for this behavior. Really give your teen a lot of genuine love and praise for their behavior. Now watch for any more of the behavior over the next week and be sure to praise your teen again every time you see it.
2. Find Opportunities to Connect with Your Teen:
About Todd Cartmell
After earning his doctorate in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, Todd moved to Columbus, OH, where he completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Wright State University at the Children’s Hospital. Since then, he has done his clinical work at Summit Clinical Services in Wheaton, IL, where he continues to see difficult teenagers, children, and whole families on a full-time basis.
Todd has written five parenting books:
- 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids
- Respectful Kids: The Complete Guide to Bringing Out the Best in Your Child
- Keep the Siblings, Lose the Rivalry
- Project Dad: The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide for Becoming a Great Father
- The Parent Lifesaver: Practical Help for Everyday Childhood Problems
He has presented many parenting workshops at mom’s conferences (Hearts at Home, MOPS International), MOPS groups, churches, and schools. He has also recently developed a skill-building game for kids called The Flexible Thinking Game.
In his free time, Todd enjoys doing anything with his wife, spending time with his boys whenever possible, reading, running, and playing jazz piano any chance he can get. His Christian faith is an important part of his life and thinking.