Home Parenting a Struggling Teen: Forming a United Front

Parenting a Struggling Teen: Forming a United Front

 

Parenting a Struggling Teen: Forming a United Front

March 11, 2021

Parents of a struggling teen sometimes find it difficult to coordinate their parenting styles and strategies.  In two-parent families, it is extremely helpful when the teen’s parents are on the same page, forming a united front, asserting the same rules, expectations, and consequences.  This is true when both parents are in the home, when there is divorce or separation, or with never-married parents or step-parents.  All teenagers, not just those who act out and defy authority, can be masters at splitting parents and playing one off against the other.  Teenagers who hear inconsistent or contradictory messages from parents are freer to follow their own destructive instincts, as in “My parents don’t agree, so I may as well do what I want.”  Teenagers whose parents present a united front may give up trying to divide and conquer.  It may sound simplistic, but there is considerable truth to the adage that two against one nearly always wins.

Most parents of struggling teens disagree with each other at least sometimes, perhaps often.  The intense, emotional, frightening, and frustrating situations in their family breed disagreement.  It is not unusual for one parent to lobby for “tough love” while the other pushes for a gentler approach.  Both parents may have reasonable perspectives – both may be right!  No wonder the argument goes round and round.  Hot crises involving teenagers easily can lead to marital and relationship conflicts as parents make difficult decisions about rules, consequences, counseling, school options, out-of-home placements, and so on.  Frequent and ample opportunity for disagreement exists.  Hence, parents of struggling teens need to be especially vigilant in their efforts to collaborate and develop a genuinely united front, for their child’s sake and for the sake of the parents’ relationship.  Periodic consultation with a therapist or marriage counselor can help parents accomplish this unity.

Frederic Reamer Ph.D. Bio

Dr. Reamer is a professor in the Graduate Social Work Program at Rhode Island College.

Learn More

Connect With Us:

603,278FansLike
22,140FollowersFollow
advertisement

Recent Articles

Balancing Support and Boundaries: Navigating Mental Health Challenges in Friendship

By -

Tags: Bipolar, Blog, Depression, Humor, Podcast, Schizophrenia,
Podcast: Good vs Bad Vulnerability and What’s The Difference?

By -

Tags: Bipolar, Blog, Depression, Humor, Podcast, Schizophrenia,
Podcast: Navigating Gifts, Criticism, and Friendship While Managing Mental Illness

By -

Tags: Bipolar, Blog, Depression, Humor, Podcast, Schizophrenia,
Podcast: Can Schizophrenics and Bipolars be Good Pet Owners?

By -

Tags: Bipolar, Blog, Depression, Humor, Podcast, Schizophrenia,
Podcast: Passively Suicidal: Are You Still in Recovery?

By -

Tags: Bipolar, Blog, Depression, Humor, Podcast, Schizophrenia,