BY NANCY STOOPS
Every week in my groups and my private sessions, I hear the same things over and over. Parents want to become more effective and their teens want more freedom. I tell my clients that are trying to become better parents they must learn to be consistent. They must learn to follow through with what they say they are going to do. I tell my teens that they will earn more freedom if they do what is expected of them.
It’s very easy for me to tell people what they need to do. The problem for my clients comes from actually having to do the work. It’s hard to break old negative behavioral patterns and replace them with healthy ones. Our children, and people in general, want us to be consistent with them. I think consistency allows people to know what to expect and that makes them feel secure. I think when we are inconsistent, especially with our children, we really create a reason for them not to respect us. We then believe we have a reason not to give them freedom, because of how they treat us. It really is a vicious cycle. As parents, we need to lead our children by teaching them how to respect us. We instill respectful behavior by creating loving, consistent, and fair rules within our homes.
There is so much uncertainty going on in our world right now. Many people are feeling unsure about the future. I think this is a good time to try to make your family stronger and find some peace and comfort. If we can start to do this within our families, then who knows what we can do as a world? I wish you all some peace and comfort in these very uncertain times.
This article was written by Nancy Stoops, M.A., M.F.T. Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens. For more information about any of these services feel free to page her at (626) 935-3818. You may also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nancy’s book, “Live, Heal and Grow” is available for purchase at www.RoseDogBookstore.com or Amazon.com.