“Artists who hole themselves up in their fortress lose a sense of proportion, their work communicating only to their small circle. Such art remains cornered and powerless.” -R. Greene
I would say the above quote holds true for parents as well. Especially when we are challenged by the behavior of our children. The following principles can serve as a guideline for dealing with difficulty with your teenagers:
- Don’t build a fortress of isolation:
- Isolating yourself will not protect you but will expose you to more danger. You’ll be cut off from valuable information around you and from receiving the very help you need.
- Isolation makes you stick out to your teen in a negative way. They will view it as an insult and give them more reason for rebellion.
- Isolation causes parents to lose perspective.
- In times of trouble with teens:
- Get more involved. Involvement is influence and gives foresight to trends.
- Become more accessible. Find ways to be available as needed.
- Seek out old allies. Sometimes a coach, friend, or extended family member can intervene effectively.
- Join more community circles of influence. Find out of there is a Parents on a Mission support group in your area.
- The Martial Arts of Surrender and Persuasion
- Borrowing from our strength builds weak relationships.
- Transform weakness into power through surrender – Turn the other cheek to disarm.
- The power behind a temporary surrender gives you time and flexibility to plan and improve your response at the next opportunity as things change over time. In other words, sometimes we have to let go and recharge ourselves to battle another day.
“The oak tree that resists the wind loses its branches one by one, and with nothing to protect it, the trunk finally snaps. The oak that bends lives longer, its trunk growing wider, its roots deeper and more tenacious.”
- The aggressive person is rarely in control of the situation.
- Aggression cannot see the long-term consequences of its boldness.
- Aggressive action is not always effective action – “Why am I always reacting to events instead of directing them?”
- Control and power is the ability to cause others to react to your moves. It’s not that we want to overpower or control our teens—but the principle still applies.
- The key to control and power is to master your emotions so you are not the one reacting, but responding and directing events that gives you influence.
- Anger, pleading, arguing and imposing your will often works against you in persuading others to follow you.
- If you can keep your teen operating in “your territory” you’ll maintain the home court advantage.