I think it’s unfortunate that popular culture in the US places the blame squarely on the teenager when power struggles erupt.

It’s not always about the teenage brain!

All too often, it’s actually the adult (parent, teacher, coach) who has triggered a power struggle by trying to claim more than their fair share of the power in the relationship.

It’s convenient and socially sanctioned to shrug off the resulting resistance as typical teenage rebellion, and thus we miss an opportunity to examine and re-calibrate the adult’s contribution to the dynamic.

Try taking a long hard look at how you are speaking to your teen. If you are telling him what to do, you are inviting a power struggle.

If instead you have asked permission to share your concerns, opinions and suggestions with him, and then invited him to share his thoughts about what you’ve said, you are much more likely to experience a thoughtful, reasonable conversation.

When in doubt, speak to your teens the same way you would speak to co-workers who are having a bad day. Give them time and space to pull themselves together, make requests rather than demands, don’t raise your voice, and give them the benefit of the doubt.

If you really want to do a deep dive into this dynamic, ask yourself how you would respond if you were on the receiving end of what you just said to your teen (including both the tone and the content). Adult brains and teen brains are much more alike than they are different!



photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/91492606@N07/8347659722″>Girl boxer in position</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>