Ep 45: Troublesome Teenage Boys
"Inside, I still feel like I'm just a really big boy," he told me. It is this inner youthfulness that helps him to understand and connect with tough teenagers. And it's also what has made his books so successful. Bill has written 20 books including Teenage Boys!, True Greatness, Beating Teacher Burnout, and Dream It & Go!, among many others.
During our interview, Bill talked about how to redirect your teenager when you see them doing something that isn't going to work. He says you need to build a strong and deep connection with your teen before you can offer this kind of advice. The key is to find opportunities to get your teen talking about things they are afraid of and to open up to them about your own fears and mistakes. When you reveal something vulnerable to a teenager it's like you suddenly become real to them and you become someone they can talk to.
Bill has some helpful strategies and scripts for exactly what you can say and do to create these kinds of moments with your teen.
Another thing we talked about is what to do when your teen doesn't want to do their chores or pitch in around the house. Bill uses a very simple but powerful approach called "you'll be sorry". During our interview he walked through exactly how to do it. The key is not to force your teen to comply with your demands, but to remind them that if they don't do what you are asking there will be consequences later. Then you simply wait for the next time your teen needs something from you and remind them that they refused to help you last time you needed something from them.
Of course, you don't just want your teen to treat you with respect, you want them to treat all adults the same way. The ability to impress adults and connect with them meaningfully is one of the most important qualities that will help teens succeed in life. But good luck convincing your teenager to start showing an interest in adults an acting courteous toward them.
Bill has some simple but brilliant tips for how to get your teens talking to adults in a deeper way. It involves training your teen to start seeing every adult they meet as someone who can potentially help them out in life. He told me exactly what to say to your teen to make this happen in this episode.
The final piece of wisdom Bill revealed during our interview was about how to get your teen motivated and interested in life. He told me about the goal-setting exercises that he participated in with his own teenagers and exactly what he said to them to get them thinking about their future. The key is to remind teens that they don't need to have a fully-formed vision of their future before they can get started. In fact, nobody has a fully-formed vision of their future! What's important is just to pick something that interests them right now and get started. It's easy to change your mind later.
This episode has scripts and exercises from Bill for implementing these strategies with your teenager.
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