Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Four Ways Of Fighting-Part 3

Fight 4

This is perhaps the most upsetting of the fights you will have with your teen. The other 3 are not always fun but they are an expected and normal part of the parent teen relationship. This last fight occurs when your teen has really crossed the line. Something has come out of their mouth that is seriously hurtful and disrespectful. Perhaps they have screamed "I hate you" or has even said f**k you or something similar. This is absolutely not acceptable. Not ever!!!

You might be surprised at first when you start to read the following strategy. Most parents when confronted with sentiments or language like that, scream back " You will not talk to me like that!!!" Except they already have! Parents will often at this point take away anything and everything they think will "teach that kid a lesson." Gone goes the cellphone, the computer. The teen is grounded and who knows what else. The problem with this type of reaction is that it doesn't really address the crux of this type of argument..the relationship.

In this approach, you do the unexpected. After your teens spew, you look them calmly in the eye, and say without yelling:" I can't believe that you would say something like that to me." And that is all you say. And then you turn away and walk away. Your teen will be shocked. They will be expecting an all out battle. But don't allow yourself to be drawn into the fray. Remember teens actually like the fight. I want you to deprive them of that release.

And here is the most important consequence for your teen. Not losing the phone or the computer or being gounded. The next time your teen comes to you and asks for a ride, money, help with homework, needs to get to staples, whatever, and believe me, it will happen, if not that night but the next morning. Your teen needs and gets alot from you, because that is what parents do, they help their kids. But this time you say, calmly and without attitude: You know honey, I would have love to drive you, helped you with, etc today, but when you said (and say back here whatever it is they said) I really don't feel that I want to do that for you today.

It is really important here not to be sarcastic. You don't want to act like a child as in : "you think I am going to help you out in anyway after the way you have been treating me!" Don't do that. What you are teaching your teen by using this approach is that relationships are reciprocal. When you are disrespected and hurt by someone, you don't want to do the things that normally would be acts of kindness and love.

I had a parent do this once after a particularly abusive incident by her teenage daughter. This mother usually drove her daughter to school every morning, even though it was only a mile walk. The mother loved doing this for her daughter because she knew it gave a few extra minutes in that tough early morning time. After a horrible battle the previous evening when the daughter became abusive, the mom decided that she would not drive her daughter to school. In the morning, the daughter had completely forgotten the fight, and was ready for mom to drive. The daughter, seeing that mom was not dressed or moving to the car, the girl said," Mom, I have to get to school, come on." And the mom calmly said: You know honey, I love driving you to school, but last night when you screamed.......at me, I was very hurt and really don't feel like helping you out today."The daughter was stunned. And of course, denied the fight, denied the abuse. I had coached mom, not to say another word. And the daughter left for school. All day long the daughter texted her mom apologizing profusely. It was the first time this mom had taken a stand for herself. And it worked!

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