7 Pillars of Healthy Conflict

When we’re in the middle of the struggle with a teen and the emotions are raging, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel—or if we do see it, it may look a lot like an oncoming freight train.

In fact, nothing can be more disruptive in the home than a teenager going through a period of intense conflict with their parents. My dear friend, James McDonald says, “There’s no pain like family pain.”  Yet despite the troubles it can bring, conflict can be helpful and strengthen your relationship if it is handled right.  It is not a sign of disaster and failure—it’s a necessary part of progress toward maturity.  So, don’t back away from it…welcome it!

Let me share with you my Seven Pillars of Engaging in Healthy Conflict: Continue reading “7 Pillars of Healthy Conflict”

Establishing Family Rules

When I was growing up there was one major rule—don’t make mom or dad mad.  If we broke that rule, we got whacked when Dad got home.  It was a “My way, and there is no highway” kind of arrangement.

I remember once “borrowing” the motorcycle without permission.  Of course, I wrecked it.  Dad responded with serious consequences.  Rather than fixing the bike that we loved to ride, he donated it to the school for their shop class.  But he went a step further; he withdrew from our relationship.  Our relationship wasn’t the best in the world anyway, but he basically didn’t speak to my brother and me for a few weeks.   I had disappointed him and he cut me off as a result.

That was the only way he knew how to deal with problems, but that kind of militaristic approach just doesn’t work today.  We live in a more relational culture.  Most parents today have better relationships with their children than parents did when I was growing up…but while that’s largely a good thing, there is a downside as well.  If our teens don’t “buy in” to the rules, the relational approach makes enforcing those rules difficult. Continue reading “Establishing Family Rules”

When Teens Reject Their Parents

We want our children to become independent; to be able to take control of their own lives. A natural and essential part of that maturing process is to make choices for themselves. Every decision they make is another step along the path from total dependence at birth to maturity and independence when they leave home. But their choices won’t always be in line with ours; and that’s when we can feel rejected.

Not every choice teenagers make will seem “right” to their parents. But there is a process they go through to establish their own beliefs, and that often includes rejecting our beliefs, and even us, for a time. So, when they make a choice with which we don’t agree, we have two options.  We can step in and assert control over them (treating them like a child again), or we can work through the process with them; taking time to understand why they made the choice they did. I suggest you do the latter.  Let me give you some tips to help you work with your teen through this sometimes painful process. Continue reading “When Teens Reject Their Parents”