The Chinese say that for anything to be permanently embedded all you need to do is practise it 100 times.
That fills me with optimism!
I could practise something 3 times per day and it would take just 1 month to be permanent. How cool is that? The downside is that I have to be super careful what and how I’m practising. If, for example, I criticize my teenager 100 times does that mean that pattern of behaviour is permanently embedded for me and her?
When I was first a teacher I heard a lot of criticism over the “catch the child being good and ignore the bad” approach to behaviour management. Some people felt that the naughty child needed to be made fully aware of the bad behaviour in order to change it. The problem is some children can be monkeys and for whatever reason they love the attention and play up to it. So, they learn that naughty acts get them lots of attention. As adults we start to look out for that behaviour and accept anything good as just normal. Do you see how that is embedded behaviour?
The 80:20 rule
The same is true of your relationship with your teenager. I know there are things that annoy you, things you wish were different and things you’re just not prepared to tolerate. I’ve still got 1 teenager so I’m living that journey still. I try to live the 80:20 rule. If 80% of what happens is good then then that is simply good. If the 20% is not awful I try to count to 10 and walk away.
This doesn’t mean she gets away with everything. What it does mean is that positive behaviour is given attention and reinforced, which leads to everyone having a happier and more productive existence. The less positive behaviour is then at most 20% of the time and is not blown out of proportion.
The 100 day challenge
Lots of love to you and your teenager