You Know What They Say About Assuming…
By Teen Coach: Melanie Black
Assumption: a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.
Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something, a point of view.
Being aware of our assumptions is important because they are beliefs that lead to perspectives. Our perspectives are powerful because they influence our actions, which provide evidence to support our beliefs and attitudes. As humans it is only natural to like when our feelings are verified even if it’s not what we want. Who doesn’t like to be right?
Sound confusing? Check out these two examples. One is from the parent’s perspective and the other is from the teen’s perspective.
Assumption: “She doesn’t care about her future.”
Perspective: “I am so frustrated that she doesn’t try to improve her grades.”
Action: Parent uses negative tone. ”I don’t see you doing any homework.” “Don’t you have something to do?” “Shouldn’t you be studying to bring up your grades?”
Evidence: Teen gets frustrated, becomes passive, and doesn’t want to talk. Teen retreats to her bedroom.
Assumption: “My parents are annoying.”
Perspective: “It irritates me that my parents are constantly nagging me about school and stuff.”
Action: Hang out in my bedroom. Don’t talk to family as much as possible.
Evidence: Over dinner, in the car, at breakfast, etc. parents ask questions many questions about school, grades, etc.
Flip It! If we change our assumption we can change our perspective, which will lead to different actions.
Assumption: “She cares about her future.”
Perspective: “I am proud that she works hard and wants to do well.”
Action: Parent expresses to their teen how proud they are of their them and acknowledges that their teen is working hard and wants to do well. Parent asks: “What are you most proud of this year?” “Do you need help with anything?”
Evidence: Teen tells parent what she is proud of and also her concerns, things she may need help with.
Assumption: “My parents care about me.”
Perspective: “I feel loved because my parents ask me about school and about how I am doing daily.”
Action: Talk to family when I can about my successes and concerns.
Evidence: Parents say they are proud of me and acknowledge how hard I work. They ask if I need help with anything.
Think about a current assumption you have. Try flipping it and making it positive. What part, no matter how big or small, of the positive belief is true? What’s possible from the positive perspective? What can you do to remind yourself of the positive perspective?