Sometimes it seems that everything is a fight with teenagers. Things that used to be a no brainer suddenly are a battle.
It’s time for bed. (fight)
Put your phone away at the dinner. (grunts)
You can’t watch that show on Netflix. (pout session)
You can do better in that class. (excuses)
Why do we face these epic battles at home? Why are our teenagers not as cute as they were in 3rd grade? Why is my blood pressure always so high at home with my teen? It’s simple.
In His wisdom, God designed teenagers to begin to separate, to pull away from their parents. Yes, God made teens, and you can blame Him.
Teenagers are discovering independence, and they long for it.
They are hardwired to find their own identity and it’s part of their maturing process. The tension arises because as they are fighting to gain control, parents are often fighting to maintain it.
We were teens, and we don’t want our teens making the same choices we made.
Power struggles with teens arise when we are parenting out of fear and control rather than faith and hope.
You are as much to blame for power struggles as your teen. I know you did not want to hear that.
Your goals and expectations as a parent greatly shape what you fight for. You can choose to parent trusting God with your teen or you can lean into your own ability and grasp at control.
Grasping for continual control will lead to more power struggles.
Here is a piece of wisdom that is a good goal for parents to have for their kids:
Proverbs 23:19: My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course.
Part of our mission is to keep their hearts on the right course because it’s impossible to have control of our teen’s choices and future.
Control is an illusion in parenting teenagers. Controlling them can feel like squeezing a big ball of Play-dough…the tighter you squeeze in one area, the more stuff oozes out between fingers someplace else! The teenage years are the perfect time to begin COACHING more than controlling. Coaching teenagers is still a tough roll, but switching your strategy from controlling to coaching will probably reduce the frequency of conflicts in the home.
Here are a few ideas.
Give them opportunities to build trust and fail.
Teens learn to handle freedom as they have small amounts of it. When we give our teens moments of freedom, we are opening up doors for coaching moments.
They will fail but rather than revoke freedom give more chances and provide more coaching. When you say no to everything you are setting yourself up for continual conflict.
Say “yes” in stages so you can be a part of their growth process.
Set goals and clear expectations.
When a child is asking for something that you are not sure about don’t get angry just set goals!
Explain to your teen what needs to happen in order for this next step of freedom.
Allow your teen to ask questions and challenge, but follow up with clear goals and expectations for what is next.
Choose what really matters to you and let other things go.
Decide now what is really important to you in this phase of parenting. HINT: Stuff that was really important to you when your child was 5 may not be as important when he/she is 15!
What are the big issues for you as a parent?
It’s okay to control some stuff…just don’t try to control everything! Keep the main things the main things and let the other stuff slide when you can. Coach them on the smaller things, but let go of your need to control what they do with the coaching you provide.
Your home does not have to be a battle zone.
No home with a teenager under its roof is battle-free…but it doesn’t need to be a battle zone! As you raise your teenager, looking for areas to pivot from controlling to coaching may prevent a few bombs from dropping!
You can do this!
The Saddleback Parents Team