web analytics
November 22, 2014 / 29 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



‘Bet ‘ya can’t make me!’ – The Impact Of External Control (Part II)


Family-logo

In Part I, a distinction was made between two relationship methodologies, both of which are discussed in Dr. William Glasser’s book, Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom. Glasser compares the use of External Control Psychology (i.e., manipulate, punish, criticize, blame, nag, and even reward) to Choice Theory, an empowering model based on an internal system of values, upgrading one’s character traits and allowing natural consequences to “police” behaviors. And he warns about the impact of using destructive behaviors of control – that when people are coerced too long, it is often at the risk of compromising the integrity of the relationship, or worse yet, losing it.

We need not go far to understand Glasser’s caution. Just look around! Too often – more than not – parents tend to expend a great deal of energy engaging in power struggles with their adolescent children. How and why these struggles begin vary. Yet there seems to be a common underpinning: each party is seeking to gain control over the other – and win the battle – but at what price?

At some point in your parenting career, think about a time you may have used sarcasm, criticism, yelling, nagging, put downs, preaching or any other manipulative measures of control. Other than explosive reactions, did you ever notice your teen roll his/her eyes, and tune you out? Well, guess what! The sarcastic-like facial gesture usually accompanies an unspoken message that a teen either is unable or unwilling to verbalize for any number of reasons, ranging from fear to lack of safety and trust.

If it were possible to tune into the inner voice of the adolescent at such a moment, we might be privy to any number of thoughts such as: “There you go again; you’re not really listening to me; you don’t understand what I’m saying; you’re not interested in what I’m thinking; no matter what I say I’m always wrong; you don’t ever find anything right with what I say or do; when I do something right, even if you acknowledge it, you’ll make it your business to focus on all (you believe) I do wrong.”

“Sometimes it feels as though you’re waiting in ambush – like a lion awaits its prey and then tears it apart. That’s how you make me feel. You wait, and then you look for something to which you could pinpoint. Okay, so maybe I’ve done something I shouldn’t have done. But why do you have to remind me – repeatedly, in numerous ways – what I did wrong? Do you honestly believe you’ll get me to learn lessons of life?”

In this concluding segment, Debra (name changed) shares with the readership how she shifted from external control to understanding, compassion and choice, and the positive impact it had on her family relationship.

“It was one of those ‘I’d-like-you-to-do-something’ situations. I wanted my son to rearrange (read: remove clutter and clean) his room. Although I don’t normally involve myself with my son’s space, frankly, I was concerned about rodents, and how the state of his room might be conducive to a winter nesting ground for pests.”

“Three years ago – before I became educated, before I even thought there could be any way other than that which I knew – I would have felt very differently about the condition of my son’s room. I would have insisted he clean his room in the manner ‘I’ would want it to be done, and for good reason. I had a belief system that his room, like everything else about him, reflected me and my parenting skills. Besides, I couldn’t stand how disorderly his room had become. Never mind I’d be trampling him in the process. Never mind he’d view my strong-armed tactic and persistence as a confrontation. And never mind we’d end up in a power struggle.”

“With a variety of tools up my sleeve, recently I had an opportunity to put my newer skills into practice. Instead of telling my son to clean up, I asked him when it would be a good time for him to take care of his room. He gave me a day. The day came and went. He gave me another day. Again, that day came and went. Now it was time for plan B, to tell him that if he wouldn’t do it by a specific date, then I would. It’s called natural consequences and it’s a great system! I learned to remove myself from any potential fighting and yelling. As for my son, it was up to him. Whether or not I would be entering his room (a sensitive subject) was a choice ‘he’ would be making.”

“In the long run, I didn’t implement this idea. That night he had asked for the use of my car – for a mere 20 minutes. I took advantage of the situation and magnanimously countered his offer with: ‘You can have my car the rest of the night – after you take care of your room.’ He tried to beg off and I smiled. He understood my message. The room got cleaned. In hindsight, I believe his newer attitude can be linked to the hard work I’ve been putting into our relationship.”

If you’d like to know what I mean by hard work, try this one on for size: “Insinuating to my son that his room was a mess would’ve been easy. But I didn’t. Instead, I indicated his room was difficult to clean. Humiliating him with the obvious, ‘You live like a slob! Why can’t you be more organized? Why can’t you be more responsible?’ would’ve been a no-brainer. But I didn’t. I simply discussed scheduling. Honestly, though, a part of me would’ve loved to say those words, but deep down I knew it would’ve been counterproductive. I have no doubt he would’ve become defensive, angry and utter a few choice words to push my buttons. I’d defend myself by pointing to his failures. He’d then defend himself further, and a battleground would ensue – sounds familiar?”

“That’s why my coaching sessions were a great resource. They provided me with an outlet to express my honest feelings in a safe forum. And once I was able to unload what was on my mind and heart, it freed me to stay focused on my task at hand. The task – to stay in control of my emotions and to refrain from blurting out what might be sitting on my mind – was not easy, yet it was doable. It was manageable because I was trained. Options, perspectives, preferred choices, self-talk are concepts and tools I learned to use. And they were extremely advantageous in helping me understand a vital point: that my son’s behaviors and actions were not a deliberate or intentional act to hurt me. They’re part of his issues as well as his journey. My job was and still is to build my inner strength, patience and compassion, and to keep practicing and discovering when and how I can be supportive in a loving way.”

By now, Debra knows only too well that in a time of crisis or when frustration is overwhelming, the tendency to revert to old habits is often swift and automatic. That’s why Debra still contacts me for a power-call. She might require a jolt of chizuk (encouragement), a different perspective or a calm and confident voice on the other side of the line. And at times, she will call simply to share an “aha” moment. That is the power of a coaching relationship. The supportive nature helps a client sustain a sense of control when life’s challenges may seem to be insurmountable and out of control.

(Note: Although Debra follows the love-tough approach, the solution she used is not a one-size-fits-all answer. Care must be taken in assessing and evaluating each situation and child on an individual basis.)

Debbie Brown is a certified life coach specializing in parent coaching. She is available for private, confidential phone coaching sessions as well as lectures and group workshops. For further information or to express feelings regarding the Parental Perspective topic, Debbie may be contacted at lovetoughcoach@aol.com

If you would like to read Debbie’s archived articles, log on to www.jewishpress.com and in the search box on the home page, type in Debbie Brown.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “‘Bet ‘ya can’t make me!’ – The Impact Of External Control (Part II)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Colleagues of the hanged Arab bus driver whose death continues to be referred to as murder despite autopsy finding of suicide. These are Arab drivers of Egged buses, claiming they suffer discrimination by Israelis.
Arab Pathologist Singing New Tune: Murder (By Jews) Not Suicide
Latest Sections Stories
Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Astaire-112114-Horse

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

L to R: Sheldon Adelson, Shawn Evenhaim, Haim Saban

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

South-Florida-logo

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

“Grandpa,” I wondered, as the swing began to slow down, “why are there numbers on your arm?”

So the real question is, “How can we, as hosts, make sure our guest beds are comfortable?” Because your guests will never say anything.

It was a land of opportunity, a place where someone who wasn’t afraid of a little hard work, or the challenges of adapting to a different climate and culture, could prosper.

Rule #1: A wife should never accompany her husband to hang out with his buddies at a fantasy football draft. Unless beer and cigars are her thing, that is.

There are many people today with very little training who put out shingles and proclaim themselves to be marital coaches, shalom bayis helpers, advisers etc.

The two World Series combatants, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, were Wild Card teams (meaning they didn’t win their respective divisions) that got hot at the right time.

More Articles from Debbie Brown
Family-logo

Having parented a struggling adolescent for several years, Yael was expecting that life would be different for her now twenty-year old son. She was, and still is, an excellent student, diligently applying the tools she has been gaining in our coaching sessions. Harmony and peace has returned to her home, and the relationship (with her son) she was working on mending has become a reality. Admittedly, she attributes the restored relationship to a parenting methodology she has undertaken — the love-tough approach.

Family-logo

Toxic Language Tishrei — and the yom tov pattern returns! Of which pattern am I speaking, you ask? If we were to identify the main aspects of each of the holidays during this month, generally speaking, and in rather simplistic behavioral terms, the pattern of the night and following day might look something along the […]

Recently, I asked a family friend, a financial advisor, to share with me his perspective on the importance of rapport in the world of sales. In a general way, I knew that successful salespeople maintain good rapport with their clients. And so I was curious. Was the need for developing rapport in business any different than doing so in a parent-child relationship? To that end, I posed the following questions: “How do you establish rapport with a new client? And what do you believe is a key issue to creating rapport?

A political figure refuses to comment on a current news story in which he is involved.. In the hope of avoiding a scuffle with her parents, a teenager, who has broken curfew, quietly opens up the front door. As she makes a mad dash to her room, she tries to avoid being noticed and questioned. In both situations, a lack of communication may be perceived as failure on the part of the individual to take responsibility for his/her actions, and/or an admission of guilt. In such cases when the person does not say yes, the message being conveyed to others can be perceived as noby default, and vice versa.

The Meaning of The Communication Is The Response It Elicits

In most homes, as women prepare to join the Seder (hopefully, somewhat rested), the anticipatory anxiety associated with the “P” word (pre-Pesach angst) is no longer. The cleaning, preparations, shopping and cooking are now a thing of the past. And finally, the Hagaddah’s legacy of yetzias Mitzrayim (exodus from Egypt) takes front stage.

What does it mean to be validated? In what areas of life can one expect to be validated? What attitude, behaviors or actions convey a message (or feeling) to someone that s/he is being validated? How does one validate, or invalidate? What benefits are there to validating and being validated – in the short term as well as long term?

In the first two parts of this four-part series, we discussed the need to validate someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one. Utilizing a Rabbinic illustration, we presented the story of Rav Yochanan ben Zakai when he sat shivah for his son. The focus was on his receiving consolation: why he received comfort from his one student, Rav Elazer ben Aruch, and not from his other four students. Now let us move to a Biblical backdrop as we continue.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/bet-ya-cant-make-me-the-impact-of-external-control-part-ii/2009/01/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: