Remodeling the Family Home

Parents with a rebellious teenager tell me that their house seems to be falling apart at the seams.  The whole family is in a constant state of turmoil and walking on eggshells.  But I tell them that their house can again become whole; in fact, with some hard work, it can become their dream home.

Do you live in your dream home, or has it fallen into disrepair?  Sometimes my life gets so busy that I simply dream of being home once in awhile, but that’s not exactly what I mean here.  Most people think of their dream home in terms of a house on the lake, a mansion on a hilltop, a quiet cabin in the woods.  But many parents I work with would rather live in a mud hut than a beautiful mansion, if they could just have some peace in the family and good relationships with their children. Continue reading “Remodeling the Family Home”

Confronting Your Teen’s Mistakes

“The difference between the exact right words and the almost right words is like the difference between lightning bugs and lightning bolts.”  — Mark Twain

discussionAvoiding toxic words and wrong motivations helps maintain a solid relationship while effectively confronting your teen’s mistakes.


I haven’t met a teen yet who doesn’t want to know they will continue to be loved when they’ve made mistakes. Loving someone seems easy when everything is going well.  It’s a quite different matter when your teen breaks your rules, and their life spins out of control.   In those times, the best way to demonstrate your continual love for them is to take care in the way you confront their misbehavior, avoiding toxic words and wrong motivations.

The first step is to let your teen know why you are confronting their misbehavior. It is that you love them and want to help them avoid bigger problems later in life. Demonstrate your respect for them by your demeanor, assuring them that you will move toward them in times of difficulty and struggle, not away from them.  Tell them that you can’t possibly love them any more than you do, and you’ll never love them any less, not even when they are at their worst. Continue reading “Confronting Your Teen’s Mistakes”

Managing Conflict With Your Teen

Teen and parentWhen having conflict and struggle with your teen, it’s easy to feel as if the entire family is falling apart.  I’ve found that a better view of handling conflict is to see it as an opportunity to pull your family together, like never before!

Conflict Can Be the Precursor to Positive Change

I believe that relationships that stick together through conflict and hardship become closer relationships. In fact, the teens in our Heartlight program that I remember the most fondly are the ones that caused me to want to pull my hair out when dealing with their constant arguing and bad behavior. Continue reading “Managing Conflict With Your Teen”