Tom Barthel Consulting

You can be calm and peaceful while entirely kicking your teenager's ___________ and straightening them out.....

When a parent has worries that their teenager could fall into drugs, alcohol, criminal and unmotivated behavior it is almost certain they will try to make rules to govern their teenager. The parent will make rules to stomp out bad behaviors and rules to promote good behaviors.

The proper name for these kind of rules are called “boundaries”. Using the term boundaries, helps us identify that these boundaries are a clear line in the sand for behavior and not to be crossed by anyone. The term boundaries is more emphatic and explains that it is about the parent as well as the teen.

I was talking to a parent this summer who had recently taken my “Boundaries” course and was struggling with enforcing boundaries with her teenagers. This was a wonderful mom with a beautiful personality. However, when it came to being assertive with her kids, she felt like she was being aggressive and she did not like it.

Being assertive did not sit well with her for many reasons:

  • It was against her nature. She does not like aggressiveness.
  • She had just moved a husband out who had gotten violent with her kids.  
  • It was stressful to be tough with her teenagers because they also were very good natured and had attractive personalities. 
  • They were by no means bad kids, they were just very undisciplined, experimenting with marijuana among other things, and not really striving to get employment. 

    Her private nightmare:

    She did not want her teenager’s experimentation to lead their life downhill and into oblivion.

    She was burnt out, tired from earning the entire household income, tired of asking twice for anything to get done, tired of coming home to a mess and dishes she had asked them to clean up, still emotional about a bitter break up, and now she is supposed to raise her voice and get extremely negative with her teens to straighten everyone out?

    When does she get to catch a break?

    When does Mom get some gratitude and cooperation from the teenagers she has sacrificed so much for?

    Let’s find out where she is having an innocent misstep.

    The solution is not being angry or yelling at teenagers. It never was. If a parent is yelling at their teenagers then that parent has pretty much already lost the battle. In very few circumstances a parent can be justified and victorious when yelling at their teen.

Parenting Tip For You

"You can be calm and peaceful while entirely kicking your teenager's ___________ and straightening them out. You just have to be decisive and uncompromising."

Tom Barthel

I reframed for this parent a new way to look at boundaries. She does not always have to turn into Genghis Khan to discipline her teenagers. It can be quite effective to have a calm demeanor. Below are two examples of very peaceful and loving people, who were masters of having boundaries with both their followers and their enemies.

Be like these two masters and your boundaries will have a wonderous effect on your teenager.

#1. Gandhi

was a master of Boundaries.

Gandhi traveled all over India and took a stand for what he believed in. He stood for peace, resolve and for independence from Britain. He managed to rally up the support of millions of people and inspire them to change the very core of their attitude towards their own life and other people.

Gandhi did this by inspiring them through a meaningful connection to them while standing firm in his values. There was no mistaking what Gandhi’s values and boundaries were. There was no confusion as he was very clear about them:

  • He communicated to his followers that one path leads to success, and one path leads to disaster.
  • He confronted everyone with that statement and he did not compromise an inch.
  • When holding his followers responsible for their actions he came up with incredible boundaries and disciplinary actions that no one would ever wish to trifle with again.

A Hindu came to Gandhi and asked what he should do. The Hindu had murdered a Muslim man out of revenge for a Muslim who had murdered his young Hindu child. Gandhi told him he must adopt the orphaned Muslim child and raise that child. He must be raised as a Muslim. Can you imagine? A Hindu raising a Muslim child as a Muslim? Now that is making someone take responsibility for their actions. The perpetrator was not given jail, was not given a whipping, but was given actual  responsibility instead.

As well, Gandhi doesn’t kid around when he delivered his boundaries, he laid it out on the line for this man and he laid it out for the British Empire too. Gandhi organized a massive shut down of entire cities crippling the economy if the British refused to acknowledge his boundaries. This played a huge part in the British finally granting India independence. 

Note: Gandhi did not yell and scream and fight with the people he disciplined intensely. It wasn’t necessary. Decisiveness was necessary. Parents yelling and arguing with their teenagers are most likely missing an ingredient with their discipline to make it go smoother.

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.

#2 Jesus Christ

was also a master of "Boundaries".

At a time when religion was a literal understanding of life and people took it very seriously, Jesus made some pretty serious claims. He gave people an ultimatum on how to manage their decisions in life. From one point of view he gave people the biggest ultimatum that has ever really occurred! 

Jesus did not back down from his ultimatums either. He stood for them with resolve and he maintained them in front of Kings and Emperors. Even in the face of his own demise he never backed down. His stand for values was so strong and clear that it started a movement that crossed the globe for the next 2000 years. Can you imagine having an impact that your teenager remembers for 2000 years?

Jesus also walked around helping people and imparting wisdom upon them. When he was done helping them, he OFTEN left them with a comment or question about what they were going to take responsibility for and do for themselves. Sometimes he challenged them on their ability to have made better decisions in the first place.

Then Jesus kept walking. He left them there to starve if they would not fend for themselves. He did not stand there and hold hands with them for 10 years, coddling them, fetching food for them, paying their legal fees or paying their rent.

Note: Jesus was not a big yeller and screamer either. He had a couple of moments in temple square tipping over tables and that was it. Yet he had no problem laying it on the line for other people. He motivated quite a few people and was able to stop plenty of people dead in their tracks.


The whole time Gandhi and Jesus meant business with their followers. They also treated them with the warmest smiles and all the love and gentleness a man could. You don’t have to be a nasty person to deliver Boundaries to your teens. You can love your teenagers and show your love to them while you make them scrub the toilet, clean dishes, and get their homework done on time, and purchase a car with their own money. You can also love them peacefully while you deny them dinner until they get those chores done. 

If you or a parent you know could use the feelings above


Call now, I will teach you how to get those results.

So What Do I Do Now?

  1. If you do not feel like being Genghis Khan with your teenagers then be like Gandhi or Jesus Christ. Take a stand and get the job done delivering your boundaries to your teens. Do not back down, be decisive, be intimidating, and peaceful and loving all at the same time.

    ·     Make a list of 6 “deal breakers” you want to see happen in your home and in your relationship with your teen or teenagers.

    ·     Look at this list every day, until you feel the conviction inside of you that you must have these 6 “deal breakers” in your home.

    ·     Do not attempt to revamp your home after reading this article or watching a “do it yourself method” you learned off YouTube. It probably will not work. Implementing these “deal breakers” requires tremendous structure and you will need someone guiding you with their format.

    ·     Contact a professional who has action plans for parents. Ask that professional to give you the structure and method necessary to straighten out your teens. Show that professional the 6 “deal breakers” you wish to implement in your home. With that professional you then implement those new boundaries with your teenager.

    I can be that professional if you like. Contact me by email or phone. I will show you exactly how to introduce the deal breakers to your home. The same way I just introduced them to 50 other homes where it worked wonderfully. The boundaries go on paper, the boundaries sort everything out, and you get a brand new result with your teenager. Results where your teenager moves in the direction you want them to, and they start to succeed more and more in life as every week goes by.

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Testimonials of Parents Who Made This Work

It works, it really does.

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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.

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