Tom Barthel Consulting

Finally, The Third And Final Action A Parent Can Do To Avoid The Worst Possible Outcome...

Parenting Tip For You

Do you know a teenager with disappointing behavior?

There are 2 different outcomes for a teenager’s life in the photos below. The teens on the top are receiving national science fair awards in British Columbia, Canada. The outcome on the bottom exists in Canada too, and it exists just down the street you’re living on, at your teenagers school, and in various house parties all across the city that you are living in.

Can you imagine what it would feel like to hear about someone else’s teenager going downhill fast and into drugs? Then discovering that your teenager was just brought home by the police for the first time? The panic, the denial, and some more panic would course through your veins. Panic that your child might slip into drugs, alcohol, cutting, and disrespectful behavior.

Would it not feel a lot better to watch your teen select between achievements they can pursue instead of select between types of drugs? Would it not feel better to feel like the parents of the teenagers in the photo on the top?

I bet you would like your teen to be receiving awards like that, wouldn’t you?

Let’s get you what you want as a parent and help your teen avoid the rabbit hole. Let’s give you the confidence and surety your teenagers are going to make it in this world and be able provide for themselves.

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Parenting Tip For You


So what’s the difference between the outcome on the top and the outcome on the bottom?

Luck? Surely there will be some DNA involved in some teenager’s success. That’s just a given. There is also a lot more at play. The difference is the young people on the top have been pushed, encouraged, and held accountable to do productive things and solve problems from a very early age. With that in place, they did not go down any rabbit hole. They probably do not even know what a rabbit hole is.

The young people whose life looks like the picture on the bottom, were most likely left to discover life on their own. The parents of the teens in the bottom picture had made too many assumptions that their teens would figure life out automatically.

So lets back up and look at the solution. Yes, depression exists and so does low self- esteem, anxiety, impulsiveness, self-harm, addiction, and emotional trauma. However I have never met a teenager dropped off at a self-esteem clinic and come out with a self- esteem. I have never met a teenager dropped off at a self-harm clinic and come out feeling invincible. I have really never met a teenage addict who got dropped off at an addiction counsellor and come out unwilling to ever use again.

Complaints left unchecked can spiral into destructive behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse or even criminal activities, adding another layer of concern for parents striving to steer their teens toward responsible adulthood. Wouldn’t it be a relief if your teenager took responsibility for solving their own problems, allowing you to finally rest from the constant emotional strain?

So how did the teens in my past get better?

What I have met are teenagers that were subjected to an intense problem solving regime in their day to day environment which was coupled with specific counselling. Treatment centers are so clear on the constant necessity of problem solving skills being developed that many of them insist on “group home” living after treatment.

Some treatment centers won’t even take a new patient unless the family they are releasing their patient to comes to learn how to create that group home environment in the home that the teen will be living in.

The effect of having depression lifted, anxiety resolved, self-esteem boosted, self-harm stopped, and addictions nipped in the bud comes after the teen has become a problem solver. In most cases, the remission of symptoms comes because the teen became a problem solver, not just because of specific therapy. Specific therapy is still very useful, you will however note that even specific therapies are mostly a problem solving formula.

It is the problem solving aspect of them that has the strongest value in recovering troubled youth.

It is always about problem solving and self-awareness. Always.

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Let’s review the simple process that can have a huge impact on preventing troubles in teens and recovering teens from any danger that they are in. This is the 3rd part to a 3 part series.

The first two responses to teenagers having problems were to say to them.

1. This is for you so you can prevent young children from becoming troubled teens: 

Starting at age 6 years old, ask your kid this question, “what are you going to do about it?”  Ask your kid this every time they come home and share some news with you. A bad report card, beat up, had their heart broken, skinned their knee etc. This causes your kid to ask themselves what they are going to do about it.  This forces them to think in terms of consequences and taking actions to prevent them. It may not go well at first for your child but after 10 years of that your child will have quite a strong habit of thinking. The kind of thinking that builds resilience to teenage problems like drugs, peer pressure, money management, sexual pressure, bullying…and so on.

2. So what do you want?  

Now we are going to move to the highly effective final stage, the real difference maker that installs lasting changes in your teenager so they can build a life for themselves and succeed at their efforts. After you are done saying the above 2 phrases to them, follow up with this:

3. Let’s make a plan with an odd number of steps in it to get

The amount of total steps does not matter, what matters is that it is an odd number. Why? Well it is quite simple. By having your teen do the odd number steps, they initiate the plan, teaching them to be a self-starter and also creating their immediate buy-in. They also end the plan, keeping them responsible for the last step and ultimately the end result. You doing the even numbered steps shows them that you are a team member in their life and that you support them Do you see what I am getting at? Do you see how this can train problem solving into your teen? You can do this for any size complaint or desire that a teenager has. It can be done to address bullies at school or to obtain a plan for a new bike that they want. It can be utilized to buy a car that they would like, or heartbreak over a boyfriend or girlfriend. This can be done for a teen getting brought home by the police, or a recovering drug user who has needs but cannot figure them out. The possibilities never stop. You should be running out of paper in your house with how many action plans you create for a 13-19 year old.

Let’s Just Look At The Benefits Of This.

1. You never have to do something for your teen again that is a waste of your time because the kid is responsible for step 1. Now you know they want it. 2. You incorporate yourself as your teenager’s teammate in life. This means you will not become the enemy later. Consider the following concept: Teenage rebellion is an optional reality. 3. Your teenager is indoctrinated to see life as an action plan for creating the results that they want. 4. As a parent, you get the feeling of “I did it, my teenager is capable

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Testimonials of school staff who got this to work

It works, it really does

Can you imagine what this process would do for children’s teenage years? Can you imagine the emotional problems this would solve? In your home, you could have teenagers kicking some butt, creating victories, meeting their own needs, and overcoming their own challenges. Your home is the answer to your teenagers difficulties in life. Make this change in your home. Download the printouts below and put them up on your fridge.

So What Do I Do Now?

  1. Take down the poster you put on your fridge from my last parenting tip.
  2. Print off the poster attached to the link below. Fasten it to your fridge.
  3. Then repeat all 3 phrases regardless of the size of your teenager’s complaint.
  4. Write down on paper plenty of 9 step, 7 step, or 5 step action plans.
  5. Watch your teenager learn.
  6. Feel like the parents of the teenagers in the top photo.

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Final Complaint Department For Your Fridge

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Odd Numbered Plan Example

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Get the behavior you want from your child.

I will teach you how to train the skills you want into your teen.

I will do it with you, and in extreme cases I can do it for you.

I have templates, resources, and real-life examples you can model

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P.S. If you know another parent who is struggling, call me now. Tell me about them. I can help you get them started in a new direction. 403-391-4184.


Tom Barthel