Parenting together with your partner can be powerful

Teenage boys … difficulties

A friend of mine recently expressed how his teenage sons were becoming very difficult to manage and this had gone on for some time. He also told me that the two of them had developed a close friendship and he was very happy about that. But this union had become quite powerful and out of hand in that together they were putting pressure on him to let them do exactly what they wanted. We all know that it’s quite normal for teenagers to stretch their need for independence, but it seemed that they were pushing too far and too often.

Parents very busy …

And where was Mum in all of this? Well it was explained to me that Mum and Dad hardly ever saw each other, let alone talk about parenting. As it can happen so often, parents get very busy and often pass each other in the hallway as they go to work or to pick up children. And that’s what had happened. There had been no time to discuss this ‘power problem’ Dad was having.

So what did they decide to do?

Parents don’t agree …

Once Mum told Dad about what was happening they decided to join fronts to sort it out. Now that sounds great but it’s not always easy…..and it wasn’t. Both parents had different relationships with their sons and wanted to approach the situation in different ways. Mum thought that her relationship with her sons was very important and she didn’t want to lose that by being too hard on them. Dad wanted the boys to know that boundaries were important in their family life to maintain balance among all members.

Freedom equals responsibilities …

So both parents were able to put into place their own style of parenting. They decided to communicate with the boys in a more adult way. The two of them together explained to the boys that to have more independence they also had to take on more responsibilities just as their parents did. So fostering relationships and setting boundaries became high priorities during family interactions.

Parents united … family united

He told me that he and his wife talked often after that about what was happening with the boys. They both agreed as much as possible about how to relate to the boys as parents. Having a united front between the parents enabled them to provide security and stability to their family in which everyone knew where they stood. This provided an environment in which the teenagers could discuss their issues responsibly with both parents. Both parents realised that if they encouraged the boys to take responsibility at home then this would be a great preparation for their taking responsibility for themselves when they left home.