Tom Barthel Consulting

My Other Teens Don't Have Problems And Turned Out Fine, Just This One Does, So It Can't Be me.....

Do you know a teenager with disappointing behavior?

Who is it that comes to mind? What’s their name? If it is someone else’s teen, you may feel opinionated. You may feel strongly about what should happen to set that person straight.

If the person that came to mind is your teenager, you may feel less opinionated and more lost. Lost at what to do next. You may have feelings of embarrassment & failure and a lack of hope for that teen that had so much potential but is now wasting away into drugs, bad behaviors, and lack of respect for anything that makes sense to you. You probably want this to stop right now and have them confront the truth of their behaviour.

You can make that happen. You can have your teen confront the truth and consequences of their own behaviour. Read this email, learn its message and put the tips provided into action.

If the person you thought of is someone else’s teen, take a small risk with your relationship and give those parents a call. Offer support and compassion, in whatever way that looks like to you, and forward them this email. Let them know that:

Drugs, alcohol, crime, dysfunction, laziness and no sense of direction are optional. Below is one step, in a proven direction.

If you are at all hesitant, give me a call and I will help you take that first step….

Does laying it out on the line for your teen feel like a good fit for your house?


Call and tell me about the struggle you are dealing with.

Parenting Tip For You

I hear this quite often in my career. Both in real life and sometimes even on television.

“My other teens turned out fine and don’t have problems, just this teen does, so it can’t be me.”

This interpretation often leads to the end result of parent’s stepping back, not being to curious about solutions, and just plowing forward hoping the teenager eventually figures everything out. I hope this is not you, if it is then please read on.

That interpretation has not typically worked out that well for parents who believe this.

Drugs, alcohol, self harm, and profound laziness and incompetence tend to proliferate in teenagers when left un-intervened. Things do keep going wrong, it does escalate, desperation in the parent sets in. Soon there are hot tempered arguments between you and your partner about parenting. You become the object of pity and gossip by your friends and neighbors, and the feeling you are going to have a looming break down about your teenager is on the horizon.

Worst of all, the most difficult position to be in is when you cannot imagine living with your teen any longer, and cannot imagine living without them.

Does laying it out on the line for your teen feel like a good fit for your house?


Call and tell me about the struggle you are dealing with.

My answer to this false interpretation is this:

I had a Grand Marquis car in my mid twenties. This car was invincible. It was extremely similar to the car you see in the photo above. In -40 Celsius weather it always started without being plugged in. I never changed the oil, I just added it. I never bought brakes for it or changed it’s fluids or did anything of the sort. The car ran for well over 70,000 km and I bought it with a few hundred thousand kilometers on it. I thought I was a competent car owner because nothing ever went wrong.

Can you imagine having a car like that? Would that not feel like a breeze?

If you had a car that started every morning, required no repairs, and never overheated, you would have an effortless experience owning that vehicle, you could drive it like that for 5-10 years.  You might also suspect you are a capable car owner. I would propose that you might even think you are good at taking care of cars.

Now imagine you sold that car and bought another one.  A shiny new Cadillac. Should work even better than the old Grand Marquis should it not? Yet the new car starts to overheat going up hills. Sometimes it will not start, and you feel a loss of power at the gas pedal occasionally. Then one day the overheating happens again, you need to get up a hill so you keep pressing forward and then it happens, you are stranded on the side of the road one day with smoke billowing out from underneath the hood.

Would you stand there all day mad and explain to your car your last one didn’t behave this way?  Would you stamp your feet, beat on the steering wheel and expect the car to sort itself out over time because it is not your fault because your other car’s do not overheat?

No you wouldn’t, that would make you look like a total fool and still leave you stranded on the side of road.

Guess what, it does not matter what your other vehicles do. You might not even be able to take credit for them lasting so long. It does not matter if this vehicles breakdown is your fault or not. You are the only one who can respond to it.

You have to phone a tow truck. You have to call a mechanic, and you have to learn about that car and why it was malfunctioning. Then you probably have to change your driving habits too so that you can accommodate any vulnerabilities in that particular vehicle.

Same goes for a particular teenager with troubles.  If you want to see change in your teenager it is you that needs to do something different. It is you that needs to learn something new. It is you that needs an education.  It is you that has the problem, not your teen.

"Have a relationship with your underperforming teen that is just like the relationship between an Olympic Coach and their athlete. It's a path to incredible success".

Tom Barthel

No matter how irrational or difficult your teenager might be. Whether it is mental illness and they are losing the battle, they are consuming drugs and alcohol, or all they have around dysfunctional behavior you are still the person standing on the side of the road with a cell phone and a broken down teenager with smoke rising out from under the hood.

I highly recommend you start phoning “teenager mechanics” and get yourself a lesson on how to deal with your teen. You can learn a lot about teens and whatever a “teenager mechanic” cannot do for you directly he can teach you how to do yourself. You can learn how to drive your “sensitive teen” more effectively so that you do not become the person that drove your teen into the ground.

Call me right now


If you want to set your teenager straight, once and for all.

You are the parent. You have the teen that has troubles. You are the one who needs to respond and learn what to do, so you do not make things worse than it has to be. With this approach you also get to create the solution and receive quite a bit credit solving it too.

Myself and my four kids are all great. My son is not totally out of the woods yet but he has come miles from where he was and I thank you again for your help. He is physically back to being very healthy and has not lost his love of staying very fit and keeping his love and God given talent for volleyball. It’s like we have our loving brother and son back. Our relationship is almost back to where it used to be. Please continue to send me your newsletters and know that I would recommend your help to anyone who I know needs it.

Michelle Johnson, Red Deer AB, Accountant.

So What Do I Do Now?

1.  Accept the fact that teenagers do come with a manual, it is called the bookstore. There you will find countless books on how to solve each possible problem your teenager can have, written by people who have already solved that same problem themselves. 

2.  Look up your situation with your teen in a book and do what the book tells you to do. Learn and become skilled. Become the professional you were willing to pay a $150 per hour for.

 3. Then solve your teenager’s problems. As best as the professionals say that you can.

4. The right time to do this with teenagers is when they are babies. Much like the right time to take proper care of a car is when it is brand new. If that time has passed already then start today.

A Parent Who Got This To Work

Dear Tom,

I just wanted to let you know that I feel we are off to a great start and know there are challenging and painful growth in our future, but it will be well worth it. Thank you again for great information. I will wait to call you as I would like to get farther on my homework so I can take full advantage of the 30 free minutes of consultation that you are providing.

 M.N. Central AB, Health Care Professional

Call Today

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.

Let’s talk.

Click Here

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.

Let’s talk.

Call here


For a quick response

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