Tag Archive for: How do I reach my teen?

When Our Kids Are Angry At Us

I remember the event vividly.  One of my sons did something that that had me questioning whether I could trust him.  He had done something that was against our family rules; it was something that could have negative consequences to him and we had been explicit in explaining the reason for our decree.

But he did it anyway.

And someone else saw him do it and told us.

Definitely an act that had us questioning his integrity.

Ugh!  I hate those parenting situations.

So what do you do when your teen disobeys you?  

  1. Confront in love.  For us, we sat with our son and once again explained the reason for our family rule.  Thankfully he admitted that he was wrong and seemed repentant for his actions.
  2. Determine consequence if any.  Based on our particular situation we didn’t actually issue a consequence.  As our son had legally just become an adult, we chose to put a boundary in place instead.  It went something like this, “We understand that because you are an adult you want to push our limits and make your own choices.  What you did was not a good choice and it impacted what others now think about you.  You have to decide if you are a good kid or want to be seen as a rebel. The rule remains in effect for each of you kids and it is there because we love you and want the best for you.  Right now we don’t trust you.  Your job is to rebuild trust with us.  Do you understand?  It means obeying the rules especially when it comes to this one.”   
  3. Love but be on alert.  We went back to the way things had always been.  We assumed the best yet kept our eyes open for signs that our son wasn’t living up to the family expectations.

And about a month later, he was caught again.

Really?  Did he not learn his lesson?

I had one of those mom hunches but really didn’t believe he would do it again.  After all, he is typically a responsible kid.  

But, yes, he was caught.

And he got angry when confronted.  

“I’m 18.  I’m an adult.  I have a right.”

“Yes, honey, those things are all true.  However, you are still living under our roof.  We pay the bills.  And as long as you stay here and we feed you, clothe you, and provide transportation for you, you need to submit to our rules.”  I’ll admit I was upset, but I tried to say this in the most calm, controlled voice I could muster.

With that the accusations started.  You know the ones.  The anger, the blame, the “you can’t do that”, and whatever else he could think of came tumbling out of his mouth.

It was hard, but I chose to stand firm.  The scripture verse kept rambling around in my head, “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’, and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’.”  

Once again I challenged him on his disobedience, the cover-up of his actions, and the lie.  I told him that he was supposed to be rebuilding trust yet it was fractured more than ever.  And I told him he had a decision to make.  He could either choose to obey or choose to be an adult on his own.

And he walked off with continued anger.

We tried to talk with him, but his anger continued to spew every time we were with him.

And then the silent treatment came.  He refused to talk with us even when spoken to.  Dinner was eaten in silence.  An encounter in the hall was met with a glare.

We tried to talk about the situation, but his emotion still remained out of control.  It went on for an entire day and I was emotionally drained.  How could this kid act this way?  I wanted to get angry back.  I wanted to tell him all the reasons he was wrong.

And then I remembered some things about anger and emotions that a wise counselor once told me.

  1. We all have to work through our emotions.
  2. Working through our emotions takes time.
  3. When we lose something that we think is important to us we need time to grieve the loss.
  4. The best thing a parent can do is give our kid space when they are angry at us.

So I silently waited.  I would communicate “here’s what we’re doing tonight” kind of information to him and continued to love him, but I didn’t demand he respond.  I didn’t tell him he was being rude and disrespectful.  I–silently–waited.  

Not one day, not two days, but three and a half days later in the kitchen I noticed that he spoke to me.  It was a random question about dinner.  

I responded.

He carried on a conversation at dinner with the family.

And then two days after that, when it seemed that he had worked through his emotions, we talked.  He let me know how he was feeling.  He shared why he responded as he did.  And I apologized for making him angry.

Notice I didn’t apologize for my actions.  I apologized for how I made him feel.

And then we moved on.

He knew he needed to rebuild trust.  We talked about our need for him to tell the truth and not cover up his disobedience.  We had already talked about the consequences of his second offense and talked about our expectations of his future behavior.

And we diligently watched.

Parenting can be a difficult, heartbreaking road to travel when our kids do the unexpected.  It can send us into the emotional abyss if we can’t pull our own emotions into perspective.  Time and vigilance are needed to get to the other side of the event so that the relationship can be rebuilt.

Dare you to look at your own trying times with your kids and allow time and space to put out the flames that ignited the anger.

“Let go…and Let God”,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wish You Could Parent With A Clean Slate? You can!

I became a grandma today!  And the flood of hopes and dreams for my kids came rushing through my mind.  And it dawned on me that my son now has his hopes and dreams for his son–a clean slate with which to start.

But let’s face it, sometimes by the time our kids become tweens and teens we wonder if those hopes and dreams are even real any more.  They frustrate us and do things that we cannot fully comprehend.  We wonder if their decisions are tied to the way we parented or if they are just part of their immature brains.  And what do we do?

We do what most normal moms do — we react, we nag, and we try to teach.

And sometimes they put up walls. 

And even though we try to explain, to encourage, or help them see another perspective, they continue to fortify the walls or begin reacting to everything we say or do.  Sometimes we find ourselves in a no-win situation.

The phrase in our house became “Can’t we all just get along?

Several years ago I was in that no-win situation.  One of my kids had put up the walls.  Anger and bitterness seemed to rage at times.  She could only see her perspective and as a mom I could do nothing right in her eyes.  Sometimes I would choose to be silent rather than pursue what I knew would be a battle.  

Honestly, when she was in our home I didn’t have the skills to turn our relationship around.  My husband, Dave, and I even went to counseling trying to learn how to repair the relationship and hopefully start tearing the walls down.   And we were taught some skills–skills to deflate defensiveness and resolve conflict.  We worked hard on the relationship with our daughter even though by that time she had turned 18 and moved out.  I continued to do research and practiced what I was learning with all my kids.  I did everything in my power to seek her out and try to connect as she would allow.

And then I met a fellow trainer, Nina Roesner, who was working on strengthening her marriage.  And we would talk for hours about the skills that most of us weren’t taught growing up.  She was doing research too and the more we talked and struggled through our own family relationships, the more we learned about what worked and what didn’t.  We started reading all the brain research and putting the pieces together in what has become an unbelievably eye-opening course.  Last year Nina piloted the course for the first time.  (She is an amazing curriculum writer!).   And just like all our training materials, lives are changing in amazing ways.  God shows up and something happens over, and over, and over.

Parent/Child relationships have been strengthened and reunited.

Marriages have been restored.

And walls have come tumbling down.

About a year ago, my daughter told Dave that I was her best friend.  She said she could tell me anything and I would listen and “hear” her.  She now felt understood.

It’s a skill I needed to develop.  It gave me a clean slate in my parenting helping me forge the relationship.

Now it’s a skill that you can develop too.  And it’s training that we only do once a year.  You’ll get to practice the skills Nina and I have both learned in a safe environment.  People have told us it is amazing!

 

But here’s why it is so important that you learn these skills.  

Our kids are taking notes.  They’re learning from us! 

Will they learn to deflate defensiveness and resolve conflict well by watching you?

Just the other day I was having a somewhat heated debate with one of my adult sons.  I wanted him to understand my perspective, but we weren’t getting anywhere.  (And, yes, I’m human and forget to use the skills sometimes.)  Anyway, it dawned on me that I needed to change the way I was approaching the conversation.  As I did, suddenly, my son stopped the conversation and said, “Mom, you’re getting good at your deflating defensiveness skills!”  

He noticed! 

We laughed. 

And now I know that as he learns from me, he’ll be able to carry those skills into his parenting with our new grandson!

That’s a win-win situation.

We hope you will join Nina and me this year to learn the skills to help deepen your relationships.  

Proverbs 25:11 NET

Like apples of gold in settings of silver, so is a word skillfully spoken. 

Dare you to pray about joining us!  We hope you’ll take advantage of the discount that is good through December 31, 2017.  You’ll be joining women from across the country who want to improve their relationships and develop the skills that can be passed down for generations to come. 

Please know that since we are in a beautiful retreat setting (with your own private room), space is limited.

You can click here for more information.

Learning to…

“Let go…and Let God”,