Being the parent of a teenager can often be fraught with drama.

Our wonderful Creator-Parent, Kathy Haskin, came across the “Empowering Parents” blog of James Lehman, MSW – in particular one entitled “‘I’m a Victim, So the Rules Don’t Apply to Me!’ How to Stop ‘Victim Thinking’ in Kids.”

In this one, Lehman encourages parents to be Challengers (in the language of The Power of TED*) and to not buy into the tendency of adolescents to play the Victim game.  While his blog is specifically about teens and parenting, his message is a helpful frame for responding to anyone who is coming from the role of Victim in the Dreaded Drama Triangle.

He closes with the following two paragraphs, offering a poignant perspective on Victimhood in our society:

“It’s important to confront victim thinking in our children if we don’t want thinking errors to become a way of life. A few years ago, there was a very in-depth study done on criminals in the California prison system. One of the important things it showed was that people who return to prison repeatedly see themselves as victims: victims of poor childhoods, of society, of poor parenting, of poverty. And what happens is, as long as they see themselves as victims, they don’t feel as if they have to take responsibility to change their antisocial behavior.

When you’re a victim you can always find a way to be a victim. If you’re the parent of teenagers, you know that many of them find a way to think of themselves as victims much of the time. Remember, although your child is going to develop thinking errors automatically, it’s up to us as parents to challenge that victim thinking and hold our children accountable.”

It’s up to us to challenge “victim thinking” – wherever we find it!