While it may seem like there are very few things we can agree with our students on while in the middle of these tumultuous teenage years, we probably all have a similar goal in mind for our families. We want to be functional. We want to be healthy. We want to do everything we can to set ourselves up for success. And this may require some hard work—on everyone’s part. But, as parents we should be leading the way here.
So, as you get a glimpse into how your family is changing and evolving, sit down and ask yourself the following questions, taking the time to be introspective and answering honestly—as difficult as that might be. Then sit down with your teenager and ask them the specified questions that follow.
- How can you learn not to be reactive but to take a step back and get some perspective on the tension and issues within your family?
- What can you do to help your children see a patient and in-control parent in the midst of conflict?
- How would you feel about letting someone else into your family dynamics in order to bring the most health to your family relationships?
- Who would you consider to be trustworthy to confide in about your family and the potential issues and struggles you face?
- Are you opposed to seeking outside counsel from a pastor or Christian counselor? Why or why not?
- Think about some families that you know and enjoy spending time around. What makes them comfortable and fun to spend time with? Try to share a particular experience that you’ve had with this family.
- What are some things you have seen or experienced this family do that you admire?
- What are some things that you would enjoy doing together with your own family?
- What are some characteristics of you’re your family that you really like? Why?
- How do you feel about the interactions you have with each of the people in your own family? Is there one person you have an easier time relating to compared to the others? Is there one person you have a harder time relating to compared to the others? Why do you think this is?
- What is one way that you would like to see your family change and grow?
- What can you begin doing this week to make that change happen?
After answering the previous questions, ask your teen to help you make a list of 5 family goals for the following year (i.e. have a family meal together once a week to connect and re-assess the above questions, commit to spending one radio/cell phone-free drive to or from school per week to just talk, research and set up a family counseling session, etc.).
To Read Rhett Smith’s entire article, go to http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/2011/06/managing-anxiety-in-the-family/
Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.