Tom Barthel Consulting

A Personal Message From Me to You

Donald Trump and Parenting Your Teen:

In 2018, I was engaged in a great political conversation with an associate of mine about the midterm elections in the United States when I suddenly became clear on what Donald Trump was going through during the election. Donald Trump was going through a cold glass of water in the face.
During Trump’s first 2 years as president he pretty much had free rein to say and do whatever he pleased. Essentially there was no way to touch him. There was no way for the public or himself to realize any of the consequences of his policies in the immediate term because they needed to fail or succeed first, which takes time.

Donald did what he thought being a President was all about.

He used his presidential powers to the max, as well as his “shoot from the hip” often over-bearing approach to communication in the media. He spoke harshly and bluntly with colleagues and the opposition. He set policies that made sense in his mind at the time. He did that because it is what he felt he should be doing.
During the midterm elections, he started reaping what he had sowed.
Then of course the elections came, and it became possible for Donald to realize the consequences of his actions. The consequences had time to show up. The midterm elections in USA were in, and he lost all sorts of power.

After time, the consequences start showing up and the cold glass of water lands on Donald’s face.

Here is a wake up call. You are not as popular as you thought Donald Trump. You failed to treat people appropriately according to public opinion. You have turned voters away from you because of your dictatorial behaviour and your lack of respect for others. It’s a total failure and a sudden shock to his senses. He thought being a President was about one thing, and it was actually about another, and he never realized it until it was too late.
You might wonder to yourself, what does this have to do with parenting?
Well, let me tell you.
Parents love their kids, feed them, entertain them, give them clothes and video games, take them camping, plunk them down in parks and in front of Disney movies. Nothing seems to go wrong for the early years.

The parents have done what they thought parenting was about.Usually they think it’s about love and good times together.

Then, around 13-15 years old the teens start to go downhill. Either their motivation disappears, or they hide out and sit in each other’s basements playing video games and flat out avoid participating in life or any of the childhood activities that feel like common sense to you. Maybe they have become cranky, mouthy, full of blame for others and yourself, and then go out and become self-destructive in a variety of ways.
They can use alcohol and drugs, self-harm by cutting their bodies to a variety of degrees, skip school, sell drugs, and get into trouble with the law.
Nowadays, I see more and more teenagers not even doing traditional trouble making activities anymore. They are just too unmotivated to get into real trouble. They look lost, confused, and are sometimes incredibly incompetent with no apparent vigor for life. Their clothes don’t fit, they are not pursuing dating, not pursuing money, and not pursuing future interests or even their own family. Some of these teenagers just seem lifeless.

After time, these consequences start showing up, and the cold glass of water lands on Mom and Dad’s face.

The parents have failed to prepare their teenager with “self-actualization” skills before the teenager needs to be “self-actualized”. This is why there is the lethargy, lack of ability, and self destructive behaviour. When the teenager reaches the time in life they need “self-actualization” skills yet they do not have it, they can become very depressed and defeated and confused. The teenagers do not have any life skills whatsoever and feel miserable when they start to come of age and do not know how to do anything, or what to feel, or what to think.
The skills for “self actualization” are much more useful when they are learned by the teenager before the teenager actually needs those skills. The parents have suddenly realized their teenager does not know how to do anything to succeed in their environment and all of the love and good times they raised them with failed to provide the training their teenager needed to live life.
My experience has taught that ideal preparation of a teenager can roughly follow the timeline I mention below.
Parents can make the choice to teach teenagers how to have adult level skills and performance abilities before the teenager needs those skills. That means the skills a 20 year old needs are taught when the teen is 17. The skills a 17 year old needs are taught when the teen is 14. The skills a 14 year old needs are taught when they are 11-12. Especially important are the skills an 11 year old needs, which can be taught to him or her when they are 7.
When a teenager does reach the age they actually need these performance abilities they will already have it which will make them feel prepared and capable. If a teenager has all the life skills they require before they actually need those skills, their central nervous system will release numerous and good feeling electro-chemical signals and neurotransmitters into their brain and bodies that make them feel more comfortable, more confident, more capable, and well adjusted.
Here is some valuable research talking about what some parents have done to prepare their youth well in advance for adult hood. Some of these will apply to your circumstances, some of them will not, yet all parents can find something here.

Click Here

Science says parents of successful kids have 13 things in common.

My strong opinion:

Having a lethargic, troubled, disrespectful, or drug using teen is completely optional for parents.
Let’s not raise our teenagers like Donald Trump ran his presidency.
Let’s get it correct right from the beginning.
Parenting is not about coddling, sugar coating, warm hugs, protecting your teenagers from unpleasant feelings, and letting them discover life on their own. It is not about Disney movies although it may feel that way. Parents are already good at loving their teenager, so they do not need to practice that.
Parenting is about preparing a young mammal to become an adult mammal. It is about preparing a teenager to transition to adulthood and preparing that teenager long before they reach adulthood.
Prepare your teenager in advance with lots of adult skills. Have high standards and expectations, and drive “grit” right into the fabric of their being. Make them extremely capable. Enjoy the results down the road. Ambitious young people. Confident young people. Financially sound young people. Sober young people.

If you know a parent struggling with their teenager’s direction in life

What your smart phone is doing to your brain

I have templates parents can use that change it all around, and cause their teen to take life head on, and the bull by the horns.