The Neutral Parenting Formula
The best way to describe the Neutral Parenting Formula is this:
It is when a parent remains neutral by removing his or her fears, agenda, and biases and allows their teenager to address their emotions, choose for themselves who they are and what they want, and learns through these choices by falling down and making mistakes.
It is when the parent provides a neutral space for their child to explore life.
The Neutral Parenting Formula comprises of these 10 pillars:
1. Lead By Example – A Neutral Parent understands that the best way to teach their teenager is to lead by example. Once a child sees their parent’s choices in action in a calm and centered way, they will follow suit by their own choice.
2. Ask Good Questions – A Neutral Parent understands that by asking good questions, it encourages their teenager to use their own imagination and critical thinking so that they can solve their own problems.
3. Probability Factor – A Neutral Parent understands that when parents create a healthy relationship with their teenager so that they are not shut out from their life, this will lower the probability factor of their child making a negative choice.
4. It’s in the “How” – A Neutral Parent understands that “how” they interact with their teenager is what determines “how” the situation they face unfolds.
5. The Power Of Emotions – A Neutral Parent understands that by providing their teenager a neutral space to explore their emotions, it makes it easier for them to remain calm and centered.
6. Find Your Passion – A Neutral Parent understands that once a parent guides their child to find their authentic self and passion in life, it will be much easier to support them.
7. Falling Down – A Neutral Parent sees the value in allowing their child to fall down and make mistakes (without judgment or guilt) so that they can learn from their experience.
8. Facing Your Fears – A Neutral Parent understands that the only way they can help their teenager and remain calm and assertive is by facing their own fears.
9. Beliefs and Words – A Neutral Parent understands that the beliefs they have about their teenager and the words they use to communicate with them are very powerful.
10. Embracing Challenges – A Neutral Parent embraces the challenges their teenager presents and looks forward to transforming them because they see this as their opportunity to grow.
Like a tuning fork, a Neutral Parent creates a calm and centered state of being that invites their teenager to match them so that when challenges arise (because they will), it creates a more conducive and positive environment in which their teenager can explore who they are and what they want.
The foundation to this method is based on three fundamental principles:
1. How To Address Emotions and Solve Problems – Many of the difficulties teenagers face are because they have not learned how to address their emotions or solve their problems so they end up becoming angry, depressed, confused, lost, sad, and so on where they can begin a downward spiral where they feel “stuck” and there is no way out.
2. How Parents Approach Their Relationship – Many of the challenges parents face are because of “how” they approach and define their relationships with their teenager. When parents resort to yelling or reacting negatively to tough situations, it creates distance in their relationship where communication lines breakdown. Once parents learn to establish an authentic relationship by changing “how” they relate with their child, the parent-teen dynamic will unfold in a much healthier manner.
3. Discovering Their Authentic Self – If teenagers are not put in touch with their authentic self, they end up making poor choices where they create a life not based on “who they really are”.
To truly empower your teenager so that they become a happy, balanced, and successful adult, you must get to the root cause of any issue. Any time your teenager exudes poor behavior, choices, communication, lack of responsibility, and so on, all stem from these three core fundamental pillars. And most importantly, we teach parents how to use these methods with real unconditional LOVE.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome” – Albert Einstein
We believe that many of the struggles parents face are because of “how” they approach their relationship with their teenager. Once parents learn to “dance” and change “how” they engage any situation they are in, it will drastically alter the outcome.
Most parents tend to have two approaches with their kids:
1. Aggressive – Reactive, yelling, telling them what to do, and barking orders.
2. Passive – “Fine do whatever you want”.
Both approaches have no real power because one is controlling and the other has given up. True unconditional love (which is what parents profess they have for their child) and real power comes from a calm and assertive energy where the child can sense that their parent is allowing them the space to be who they are, but will not tolerate negative behaviors.
Unfortunately many parents have mistaken being “peaceful” with their child as being a push over. A Neutral Parent is balanced in their approach where they remain calm and do not react negatively to childish behaviors; and at the same time their assertive energy helps set boundaries (very similar in how Cesar Milan the Dog Whisperer trains people to be their dog’s pack leader through calm and assertive energy). This is the balance parents need to cultivate if they truly want to develop an authentic relationship with their teenager.
In the martial art Aikido, they teach students that when your opponent attacks, to not tighten up and show aggression while at the same time, moving with their energy so that you rectify them as “neutral”. Conflict can only start if the aggressor feels a reaction. Basically, you want to “dance” with your teenager and provide them the space to explore their emotions without adding your negative reaction.
So what is this specific formula and how does it work? It’s a culmination of the experiences and learning I’ve been engaged in for the past 20-years including:
- Being a troubled teenager and changing my life
- Working as a rave promoter for ten years and helping many troubled teenagers
- My studies of martial arts, conflict resolution, and relationship skills
- Practicing as a life coach for ten years and helping “adults”
- Learning two very important lessons from my mom
- Exploring human kinds history to understand why we struggle
- Working in the billion-dollar self-help industry for one of the largest companies
- My work at the Teen Support Institute helping parents and teenagers
What I have discovered over the last 20-years is that society is experiencing a vicious cycle of poor parenting not because parents are bad or wrong, but because we have been so focused on survival that for the first time in our history we are exploring our emotions, who we are, and what we want. We are like little children trying to find our way in the world and we lack the experience and understanding, because our parents lacked the experience and understanding. Thus we have continued to pass along negative behaviors and emotions to each generation.
Emotions are very powerful and when we do not learn how to address them in a healthy way, they can run our lives and send us in a downward spiral. Most of the challenges that parents face with their teenager have to do with their emotions. Whether it is anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, stress, lack of motivation, being disrespectful, and so on, when teenagers get their first taste of life and face a challenging situation, if they are not taught how to deal with them head on in a neutral environment, their emotions will get the best of them. And because most parents have not learned how to find a healthy balance with their own emotions (by reacting with fear and anxiety), this adds fuel to the fire and creates a “troubled teenager”.
If you understand the self-help and personal development genre, you will see that this is a billion dollar industry that provides products to teach “adults” how to create a successful life. Basically, we are learning as adults what we really needed to learn as youth: how to create the life we want. Whether it has to do with weight loss, dating, relationships, money, our career, and so forth, adults are having a hard time getting what they want from life.
What the Neutral Parenting Formula suggests is that parents become their teenagers “guide” and “coach”. During the early years (infancy – 11) where parents needed to keep their child out of harms way, it was crucial that parents step in and make choices for their child. But once a child reaches the ages of 10 – 12 (depending on each child), a parent needs to change their roles and focus on being their teenager’s guide and coach:
- A guide helps their teenager understand the challenges they are facing and guides them through their decision making process so that they can come up with their own solutions.
- A coach encourages their teenager to create their authentic life.
Both the “coach” and “guide” come from a neutral perspective that means they never project their own fears, desires, or biases. It is about providing a “neutral space” so that the teenager can figure out for themselves who they are and what they want in each situation while the coach and guide support their authentic selves. More importantly, by remaining neutral, it invites the teenager to calm down while they are dealing with whatever issues they are faced with. What many parents fail to realize is that their teenager is getting their first real taste of “heavy” emotions and the interactions you have with your teenager now are going to set the stage and lay the foundation for how they address their challenges, as they get older.
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