11-14-2019 01:56 PM - last edited on 02-13-2020 03:12 PM by Jess1-RO
Ask a Child and Family Professional
Question: My teen is not getting along with my partner. What can I do?
This can be really tough- feeling torn between your partner and your teen is not easy.
Are you and your partner on the same page regarding routines, boundaries and rules?
If you’re not on the same page, your teen may try to play you against each other and seek out a situation that is more advantageous for them. If you have said no to something and your partner has said yes then the teen is more likely to apply pressure to whomever agrees with their request. This can cause disharmony and even resentment from both parties, your partner does not like being “manipulated” and you may not feel supported in your original decision.
The lack of consistency can bring its own challenge if one partner is being more assertive, controlling or using more excessive consequences than the other partner. The teen may feel undervalued and “that everyone is always telling me what to do”. Depending on the teen, a reminder beforehand or an explanation when being reprimanded can go a long way to a teen feeling that they are important and valued. It is also an opportunity to explain the reason “why” behind the parents reaction/decision.
Perhaps your partner isn’t playing a parenting role- but their relationship with your teen just isn’t great. Remember to be patient and give your teen time- change is hard for anyone- teens and adults.
Focus on and create opportunities for connection and communication with your teen. Make a point of listening to their highs and lows and when you can, ask specific questions to show understanding and interest, i.e. “how did your friend’s performance go?” or “did you all work out where you were going to catch up for a surf on the weekend?” If you can, offer ways to help by being part of the solution not a problem solver. For example: “I can give you all a lift to be beach on Saturday at 10 would that work for you all?”
Sometimes focusing on your connection with your teen despite other complications is the best step forward. Modelling this behaviour may also have a positive effect on the way your partner engages with your teen as well. Once you feel more confident in your communications skills, you can start conversations with your teen where they can express how they feel about their relationship with your partner and come up with some solutions on how to improve it.
I hope that these scenarios give you some ideas moving forward. Good Luck!
James , Child and Family Professional at The Benevolent Society
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