Over the course of my career, I have made it my business to study parents. The family unit has changed so much in that time. Where I once would most often see a traditional mother and father in my office, today tradition doesn’t exist. I don’t think I have ever met two sets of parents who even remotely resemble each other. As a result I can never ever treat any two of my clients exactly the same. What works for one family unit may not necessarily work for another.
However, there is one thing that I have noticed all great families have. They accept responsibility, personal responsibility, for how they are interacting with their young person. That is quite unusual to find. Let me explain…
When families come to my office they come for a reason. The reason is usually little sweet Kate, who has turned 14 and made their life a waking mess. So I ask the obvious “What is the problem?” Parents who don’t understand this responsibility answer, “She is the problem.” Black and white, start and finish, that’s normally the answer – Kate is the beginning and the end of the problem.
It does disturb me when parents don’t admit to contributing anything or adding to the dramas that are happening in their own home. It wouldn’t be humanly impossible to not be contributing to the problem. I don’t want parents to blame themselves for their teenagers’ short comings. It’s not always their fault. However, it ALWAYS has something to do with them…there is a big difference between the two.
There are things that we all do to wind our kids up. There are dynamics within families and personality clashes which can have a great impact on our children. There can also be times where we have had to make a difficult decision, which has been a great challenge for our young person to accept.
I love working with families that ask themselves – What do I do to make things worse? How can I respond better?
THANK YOU to everyone who has been passing these blog posts on, and for all your kind emails about their impact on your family. If you have a topic you would like me to blog about email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will respond to it as soon as I can.
If you would like to book me to speak at your school or community event email email@example.com.
MOST IMPORTANTLY if your teenager needs support from a psychologist, counsellor or mentor Youth Excel would love to help. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Teenage Girls Don’t Tell their Parents is available at www.michellemitchell.org for $24.95 plus postage.