web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Knesset and Menorah Lawyers Called Upon to Use Their Legal Skills in Israel’s Defense

Learn about the up to the minute human rights and legal challenges facing Israel, while networking with other likeminded professionals and earning CLE credits in your jurisdictions – all at the same time



Reframing (continued from October 15, 2010)


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

In this series we have covered many of the major ways to understand what makes a teenager tick. Now it’s time to put all the pieces together and work towards restarting the relationship between you and your teenager.

 

Beginning again is never easy, especially when starting over demands that a person develop new habits.  However, restarting a relationship with a teenager is easier than most parents think.  Old habits can be replaced by new ones as long as you follow the Three Cs and keep the goals of Relationship Theory in mind.

 

We have also learned about the importance of three key areas – connection, control and communication.  Remembering them, parents can use the following techniques to help jump-start their relationship with their teenager:

 

Reframing

Communicating intent to change

Keeping the goals in mind

 

Communicating the Intent to Change

 

The second technique for restoring the parent-teen relationship is for parents to verbally declare their intent to restart the relationship.  To do this, parents communicate the following ideas to their teenager:

 

1. “I’m sorry we have had a difficult relationship over the years.  I will no longer fight with you or try to control you. I would just like to have a good relationship with you.”

 

For some parents these words may seem hard to say, but teenagers are old enough to appreciate these words of reconciliation.  Imagine that someone you have been fighting with for many years one day said, “I’ve been thinking a lot about our relationship and our fighting has driven us further and further apart.  How about we stop fighting and start over again?  I promise not to nag, bother, attack or criticize you anymore.  I will be here only as a friend who will give you advice only when you want it.”   Most people would feel relieved that the battle was over and glad to have a chance to start again to build a positive connection.

 

Of course, words are not enough.  They must be followed by action. Parents need to stick to the principles of Relationship Theory by moving to improve their connection, reduce their control and stay within the guidelines of positive and compassionate communication.

 

2. All along I was looking at you and relating to you as if you were still my little child.  I now realize that you have changed. You are your own unique individual.”

 

One of the most important needs teens at risk have is the desire to be respected as autonomous individuals by their parents and teachers.  Before reading this series, parents were likely to have been waging a constant war with their teenagers – trying to stop them from asserting their own identity.   Relationship Theory maintains that in order to break the stalemate, parents should tell their teenagers that they now view them as independent individuals and that they respect who the teenagers are, even if they don’t always agree with their actions.

 

Some parents may feel that this declaration is akin to agreeing to negative behavior.  However, as we have seen throughout the series, parents no longer wield full control over their teenagers.  They would do much better to let go and give them their own space. In this way, recognizing their individuality is not a sign of weakness, rather it is part of an overall strategy to regain momentum in the relationship.

 

3. “If I am unaware of difficulties or problems in your life or am somehow glossing over any, please feel free to share them with me when you feel comfortable.”

 

Teenagers at risk feel alienated from their parents.  They often believe that no one is interested in hearing about their problems.  They also believe that their parents have a secret agenda to control and manipulate them. In order to moderate these feelings, parents need to tell their teenagers that they no longer have an agenda. Rather, they want to talk to them about what they are actually feeling.  Teenagers need to feel that their parents are a sounding board, not people who will try to criticize or control them.

 

I once made this declaration to a young client who was suspicious of adults, including her parents and me. She felt that as a counselor, I was somehow an extension of her parent’s authority.  I said honestly, “Look, I have no agenda.  My only concern is for your health and happiness.  If I can do anything to make your life better, please tell me.”

 

At the following session, I felt I was meeting a new person.  All along, she had felt that her parents had sent her to me to fix her problems.  Instead I was straightforward with her and told her that I was only there to help her and that I had no ulterior motive.

 

Keeping The Goals of Relationship Theory In Mind

 

The third technique for restarting your relationship is to monitor and maintain the positive changes that are made. Like any other difficult task in life, applying the Three Cs of Relationship Theory takes time and practice.  When the going gets rough, parents need to remind themselves of the purpose for changing their attitude towards their teenager. They also need to remember themselves the goals of Relationship Theory.  These goals are to

 

Develop a life-long relationship.

Motivate without coercion.

Actively listen and connect to the teenager’s inner world.

 

In the long run, Relationship Theory works because motivation is easier when it’s provided without coercion. Teenagers can’t be pushed to change, but they may be gently pulled in the right direction. In order to do this, a parent must step back and create a safe emotional “space” where the motivation can be accomplished.  This space has to be friendly, respectful and comfortable for a teenager to exist within.  It must also feel safe because safety is necessary for positive emotional growth.

 

Keep in mind that raising a teenager is often like being a gardener of the most beautiful garden in the world.   Successful gardeners are dedicated to their gardens and to giving them all the nutrients needed for their growth.  Parents too must provide the nourishment and care that their teenagers need to reach their full potential and beauty.  The principles of Relationship Theory offer the right amount of emotional nourishment needed for teenagers to outgrow their at-risk behavior.

About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, Marriage and Family Therapy, is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Flatbush, Cedarhurst, and Crown Heights. He is a certified PAIRS instructor, and trained as a Level 1, Emotionally Focused Therapist at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and is a member of AASECT. He is the author of At Risk – Never Beyond Reach and First Aid For Jewish Marriages. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com or call 646-428-4723


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Reframing (continued from October 15, 2010)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Harvard seal, "veritas," on the side of a Harvard building.
Harvard Boycotts SodaStream (Despite Company’s Surrender)
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

Rav Dynovisz will be speaking in Hebrew on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

South-Florida-logo

Rabbi Simeon Schreiber, senior chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, saw a small room in the hospital that was dark and dismal but could be used for Sabbath guests.

Eller-121914-Main

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

I so desperately want to have a loving relationship with my stepsons.

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American Independence.

Because you can’t have kids pouring huge jugs of oil into tiny glasses, unless you want to turn your house into an environmental disaster.

Try these with your kids; there’s something for every age group and once all the recipes are made, dinner will be ready!

You children will build the country and you will help restore Israel to her former glory.

Bais Toras Menachem is proud to welcome its new staff member, Yaakov Mark, who will be the Administrator as well as Ort College and GED class coordinator.

Because she is keenly aware that anti-Semitism may start with the Jews but never ends with the Jews, she makes the logical connection between the opprobrium for both America and Israel so commonplace on the political left.

In this narrative of history, it is the third world Palestinians who are victims of the marauding Jews, of course.

During 1939, anti-Semitic groups such as Fritz Kuhn’s German American Bund held rallies in New York and other major cities across the country.

More Articles from Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch
Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Separation anxiety disorder is a condition in which a child becomes fearful and nervous when away from home or separated from a loved one – usually a parent or other caregiver – to whom the child is attached.

Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

I try to focus on the parents in a way that is not often addressed. As soon as the child gets anxious, the parent gets anxious;

Most people are not aware that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).

Parental conflict affects children in varying ways, depending on their age. For example, teenagers around the age of fifteen or sixteen are most likely to involve themselves in their parents’ battles. Younger children may keep their feelings hidden inside and may only show signs of depression in late childhood or early adolescence.

When parents come to talk to me about a troubled child or teenager, I often find it helpful to explore whether or not their marriage is causing their teenager to be at risk.

Active listening is only one part of the marriage equation; learning what to say and what not to say is the other half. And, it’s not just about expressing your feelings, but doing it in a way that avoids hurting the other person.

Control may be the most destructive force influencing a marriage. Let me illustrate this point with the following story. About two years ago a woman named Bracha, 47, came to speak to me about her husband’s controlling behavior. This is how she described her precarious situation:

Controlling behavior may be the number one reason that your marriage needs first aid.

If you are unfamiliar with the topic of control, it’s no surprise. Most people are unaware that control is a major issue for counselors, therapists and psychologists-at-large.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/reframing-continued-from-october-15-2010/2010/10/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: