Consider the idea of establishing weekly family meetings where you can think together with your teen on any challenges that arose during the week.
I understand that everyone’s schedule is already full, and this is one more thing to add to that equation. However, just like preventative health practices, coming together as a family for a Sunday night dinner and a chat might make the difference between a year of greater connection and cooperation, or a year that mirrors the last.
Keep the meeting brief. Kindness is key. Be sure to model patience and a collaborative spirit. Remember, your teen is watching and learning from you. The intention is to create the time and space to work through challenges your family is encountering, individually, or as a unit.
You can begin with everyone sharing one “win” from their week and one “bump in the road.” This is the time to simply empathize, without advice. Then each person can be invited to bring up one item that they would like discuss. You may decide to tackle the easiest issues first, but if there is a pressing issue, that can also be a good starting place.
The person sharing has a couple of minutes to present their topic. Then, each family member can ask for clarification, and/or give a helpful suggestion. At the end of the collaborative feedback, the person initially sharing can summarize his/her options and decide how they would like to proceed during the coming week. Some topics may come up for multiple weeks, as trial and error reveals more effective options.
One example is a parent requesting their teen take responsibility for leaving on time for school. One option may be to set a morning alarm, instead of relying on mom to wake them up. Another option might be going to bed sooner at night. Another option might be taking a shower the night before, and laying out one’s clothes ahead of time such that all that is required is to roll out of bed, get dressed, eat breakfast and go.
Each family has its own style – and personalities. I have noticed that families function better when they act as a team, listening to each other, helping each other, and reinforcing/ strengthening their connection a regular basis. If your family is struggling, I can definitely help! Call today for more information.
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