Here’s part 3 of our On the Same Team blog. Designed to keep you and your teenagers ‘On the Same Team’.
We are looking at the model of a sporting coach for strategies to keep you out of the war zone.
The Coach always wants his players to WIN.
No matter how harsh the coach’s correction, the discipline he delivers or the focussed training, he may prescribe, the players know he’s on their side. They know that he wants success as much as they do, maybe more. They know his career as a coach is on the line if he doesn’t produce. They know he has their best interests at heart.
What about in your family? Do your kids know you are on their side? Do they know you will stand with them no matter what comes, do they know you are in it together?
Some times something as simple as bad grades at school can draw a line in the sand and see parents and kids on different sides. Parents say things like ”You should have, I expect more, you are grounded until you get Bs” Again a Coach may be tough and prescribe extra training and withdraw privileges, but a good coach never leaves doubt that they are both working for the same thing.
An us and them mentality is always destructive. Parents against kids, words like: you should… why can’t…. in my day…. If I had brought that report home… don’t convey the support and acceptance your teenager needs.
Try saying “We are in this together, what can we do to see improvement here?
Can we help you strategise more time to study, do you need to drop some extra curricula activity, do you need help, tutoring? Is something going on at school we need to talk about?”
When someone is on my side and helping me to find an answer, my ability to trust them, is greatly increased. I can now relax and see things clearly.
There is not much creativity occurring in a war zone!!
So when at all possible stay on the same side of the problem with your teenagers, we are working together to overcome. Not this problem has come between us and we are watching what you will do.
As my own kids grew through their late teens and into early adulthood, I found myself saying many times, it’s ok we are family, we get through these things together. A commitment that costs lots, in time, money, sleep, and freedom, but has handsome rewards in the form of relational closeness and mutual support.
Family, it’s about sticking together and navigating life together, not each one to their own corners and come out fighting.
Better to be a coach than a referee, or a player on the opposing team!