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Communication Tip:

Originally written by Kerry for tutorial reference material, rewritten for Communication Weekly.

So your teen is stuck in sullen disrespect

Many parents have come to believe that all teens shut-down and go through a rebellious disrespectful period lasting days, weeks, months, or longer. This behavior is typically characterized by pouting, unhappiness, abusive rudeness, sullenness, laziness, inconsiderateness, sloppiness, resistance, and one-word-answers to questions. What parents forget is that the behavior began (as it did with them when they were young) with a single, as yet resolved upset, an unpleasant interaction with someone that did not end with a warm loving hug. Whatís exciting is that you can, within a single sit-down session, locate and complete the incident (the dramatized upset) and recreate an experience of supportive love (continue reading).

Dramatizing an unresolved upset by pouting is of course a controlling blaming communication (Look what you did to me! Nobody understands me. And the biggie, You don't care enough about me to find out what's wrong). Communicating in such a way as to cause another to be incomplete (to worry, to be confused, to be concerned, to not feel good) is abusive; such behavior always produces undesirable results, affecting everyone's aliveness, eventually their very health. Your child learned this way of relating, of manipulating (controlling) others, by emulating you. Unless you have taught your child to communicate responsibly then non-verbal blames and make-wrongs are the only way he/she knows how to communicate, ďHey, somethingís wrong. Iím stuck with an incomplete and no one is getting me. Canít you see, itís written on my face? Iím carrying around hundreds of withholds. Iím incomplete.Ē But, hereís the good news parent, itís not your fault; I know of no school system that teaches students (future parents) how to communicate responsibly. It could be said that you have set up your child to support you in accelerating your communication mastery curriculum.

Whatís so is your child is mirroring your leadership-communication skills. He/she has absolutely no choice but to react to your leadership.* You and your teen (and all household members and relatives with whom each interact) have become stuck, each doing your imitation of communication. We know itís not communication because when communication takes place problems are identified and disappeared and whatís left is an experience of supportive love. I say "your" because in this, and all other matters, you are the leader.

During their formative years children mimic their parents; they are programmed, totally motivated, to please parents, to make them proud so as to receive acknowledgment. If say, a parent is addicted to withholding thoughts from his/her spouse then the child eventually stops being spontaneous and starts hiding thoughts just like his/her parents do with each other. If parents argue and communicate abusively with each other, the child, to be loved, will mimic them, thinking that this is the way family members are supposed to relate with each other. Eighty percent of what a child mimics are the nonverbal communications between parents, the condescending put-downs, the rolling stink-eyes, the "whatevers," the resenting submissions (. . . all right, weíll do it your way . . .) óstuff parents canít even see themselves doing.

If your teen is pouting he/she is non-verbally dramatizing an incomplete, a specific upset. The incident took place on a specific day and with one person. That incident is whatís referred to as an incomplete. It was an interaction, a communication, that didnít end in mutual satisfaction. After that incident your child turned from being spontaneous to being comparatively shut down. You have taught him/her to stuff, to withhold, certain thoughts. Consequently, since then, he/she has stuffed thousands of thoughts. Thoughts such as;
ďI wonder what it would be like to have sex with . . . ?"
"I hope dad doesn't find out I stole pocket change from his pants."
"I wish mom and dad wouldnít argue."
"I sure feel badly about hitting my friend."
"That didnít feel good."
"I wonder if mom knows I took the candy."
"That wasnít fair."
"I feel badly for lying about my homework."
"Iím probably a sicko for masturbating so much. etc.Ē
When parents arenít a safe space for thoughts to be shared then certain thoughts are stored and begin to sap ones aliveness. All child molesters began with a single thought (I wonder what it would be like to . . .?) which they were afraid to share with a parent. Non-verbalized thoughts occupy space, they serve as barriers to clear thinking, to studying (comprehension), and to manifesting ones stated intentions.

Whatís exciting is that you can, within a single sit-down session, locate and complete the incident (the dramatized upset) and recreate an experience of supportive love; itís called The Clearing Process for a Parent and a Young Person/Teen; it's designed specifically for a parent and a young person/teen. If you wish to do a clearing with your child you must first do The Clearing Process yourself.

* During each TV program of The Dog Whisperer we see that dogs mirror their owner's unconscious non-verbal communications (tense, fearful, upset, impatience, etc.). So too it is with children; a child has no choice but to react to a parent's non-verbal communications, especially the emanations of a parent's out-integrity. It's virtually impossible to withhold a thought or to remain upset in the space of someone whose integrity is inósuch is the space of their very beingness.

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Check back occasionally for minor edits (last edited 8/15/13)

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